Pastor's Message

from Hoverings October 2008

But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, and went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, 'Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee'.

(Luke 10:33-35)

The story of the Good Samaritan is probably one of the mostly commonly known stories of the Bible. It is a story that raises issues of race and tribe, of compassion and more than anything, of commitment. I have gone back to this story again and again as I and, with me, the church have been drawn into the conversations, discussions and responses to the hate incidents in town.

I find that the more deeply I come to understand the impact of race on the lives of our children, the more I realize I need to learn…both about racism and about myself as a white person. Sometimes I want to stop and rest for a while. The stories are too hard to hear, I find myself overwhelmed or just wanting to think about something else…but then I realize I as a white person, have the privilege of being able to think about something else (!) while my brothers and sisters with more color-full faces have no such luxury.

In the story of the "good" Samaritan, one man stopped to heal another man who had been beaten and robbed and left on the roadside. We do not know the race of the injured man, only that the Samaritan was of a race others treated badly. Nonetheless, the Samaritan stopped and not only helped the man but found him a place to rest and was willing to pay for his board until he was healed. I call that more than a gesture, more than a gift of compassion: I see that as willingness to cross boundaries and go beyond one's own comfort to "love your neighbor as yourself" (Luke 12:27).

Over the next few months, we will be called as individuals and as a church to consider our own levels of commitment. We will need to decide if we can participate in projects funded to overcome youth violence and/or to save the lives of the homeless in this community. The message Christ has given us is painfully clear. We are called to love our God "with ALL our hearts with ALL our souls and with ALL our minds and to love our neighbors as ourselves" (Luke 10:27). I look forward to seeing how we find ways to do this together.

In faith,