“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
~ Luke 10:37 - 37
It has been a week. It's not often that I allow my personal life to enter into my blog, but today I feel that it is important.
I have been living the story of the Good Samaritan, while dealing with the Prodigal Son. I always see both stories as a place of healing and wholeness. For the man who had been beaten and left to die, and the other, a son who was welcomed back into the arms of his father.
I find it interesting that in both stories all the individuals are not named. I think that it's because at any time, we could insert ourselves into one of the roles that are being shared.
Throughout both stories, the actions that are being performed are always about choice. The Samaritan makes the choice to cross the street and help the beaten man and suddenly is forever known as "Good."
A son leaves his father and demands that he be given what he believes he is owed, goes off and squanders it all, then returns home and is forever known as the "Prodigal."
One of the hardest conversations I have ever encountered in my life occurred this week as I sat in a hospital room with my cousin as he was told he was going to die. While most of his life he has made choices that many of us would never make, or even be in a situation to encounter the opportunity to even make the choices that he has made, none the less, he would even tell you, "My life hasn't been filled with a lot of common sense," then smile.
Addiction is something we all know something about, especially today where opiates rob communities of resources, and families of the people they love. My sister, who is a psychiatric nurse, reminds us, "The only difference between me and the alcoholic is just one drink."
Years of addictions have reduced the years of life for my cousin to just a few months left to live.
Taking him from the hospital where he had been treated, to the hospice where I work, but also, where he will be kept comfortable, has also brought me face to face with the Samaritan and the father of the son. Stopping at a local store to pick up new socks, a pair of shoes, some t shirts and some pants he can lounge in, made me realize that even the simplest and smallest of things can make a tremendous difference in the life of others.
He stood in the shower, the first one he had taken in months, and then changed into the new clothes, throwing away what he had worn for the last four months away. I stood at the dumpster outside the building that night and just simply cried, because I knew that the place where he was staying, the people would see him as a person, and that he was clean, and safe.
We don't know much about the lives of the father or Samaritan, the son, or the man that was cared for, in the following days and months after the writer shares of their experiences and events. I guess it leaves room for us to have our own encounters and realities of our own actions.
For me it is the reminder of how short our lives actually are, and how each day presents itself in a way that we could find ourselves among the pages of the people in these two stories. Wherever we may be in these stories, the love and grace of God is present. We are invited to be instruments of healing and wholeness for others, even when we are wounded and broken. The broken and hurt people from these stories provided a way for the lives of those who helped them to also be changed. Healing, wholeness, grace, faith, hope, and love...
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2019
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain and ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.