Thank you to all who ventured out in the pouring rain this past Sunday. You are my heroes! As I am thanking folks, a shout out to those of you who joined me in the coffee hour both in person and online. The conversation was rich and informational.
The parable of the good Samaritan was the topic of the message on Sunday. The message is relevant as much today as it was back in the days when Jesus was teaching and preaching. It begins with a lawyer trying to trap Jesus and so he is asking questions that he knows the answers to. However, the last question he asks is “Who is my neighbor?” This is when Jesus tells the parable of the good Samaritan. To most of us this parable isn’t new… I told a modern-day story of Daylan McLee, who acted from his heart and saved a policeman from being burned to death in a car crash.
As the story Jesus tells, and the story of Daylan McLee, here are the commonalities. The good Samaritan and the beaten man are from different cultures and social standing as were McLee and the policeman. McLee was a man of color living in a poor neighborhood in Uniontown, PA and the policeman was white and probably had social standing in his community.
To both the Samaritan and McLee, despite their differences, they come to the aid of another human being. That’s the definition of “our neighbor.” Jesus said to inherit the Kingdom of God we must love our neighbor as ourselves.
Elizabeth Sands Turner, Unity minister and author of Your Hope of Glory, says, “Our neighbor is anyone who is nearby and needs assistance, whether he be friend or stranger. We cannot expect to correct all the ills of the world but we can help the people with whom we come in contact. This is our spiritual service. Sometimes this need is satisfied by a kind or inspiring word, sometimes physical aid is necessary. Often our most effective service is to pray for others. It is not by chance that certain people come into the orbit of our lives. They are drawn to us by the law of attraction, and we should not, like the priest and Levite, pass by ‘on the other side’.”
According to the Jews, a Samaritan was inferior racially and religiously, but he was more truly spiritual than those of whom righteousness was expected. Jesus himself was playing the part of the Good Samaritan by telling this parable to a Jewish scribe, who, bound by the letter of the law, could easily overlook its spirit.”
Looking at this definition, I want to offer a few opportunities to become a good Samaritan and assist those in need…
Welcoming the Stranger is an organization that was formed in 2016 to assist asylum seekers coming to Maine. There are opportunities to be a mentor to an individual or family. This involves assisting in whatever way is needed… teaching them English or taking to appts… most of these folks are highly educated and professionals but had to leave their home and country to remain alive and safe.
Sebago Lakes Region Fuller Center for Housing is another local organization of which Unity is a founding member. Our mission is to help elderly folks in the Windham, Standish and Raymond area to remain in their homes by doing home repairs they are no longer able to do. It doesn’t require any special skills… just an open heart and the ability to pass a hammer or do yard work or other forms of cleanup.
These are a couple of opportunities as a community where we serve our neighbors… contact me if you have other places where we can come to the aid of someone needing help.
Join me this coming Sunday as we look at serving two masters.
You are a blessing in my life,
Rev. Patricia Bessey