This morning, the sermon I heard was on Luke 10:29-37. It’s a story with which many of us are familiar—the story of the Good Samaritan. A man is robbed, beaten, and left for dead on the side of the road. Many people passed this man, including a priest and another highly religious man. Neither stopped to help him, crossing to the other side of the road instead. It is not until the Samaritan walks by that this man is given aid. And what aid he receives! Not only does the Samaritan seek help for the man, he is willing to fund his recovery! A stranger refuses to turn a blind eye and is willing to sacrifice his time and money for a fellow man. I’m sure that by the time the man recovered, he and the Samaritan were no longer strangers. Perhaps they became life-long friends and brothers, bound by that one moment when tragedy was transformed into grace and healing.
As I sat listening to the sermon, I began to think of “Samaritans” I have seen and known in my life. My thoughts turned quickly to VPA and the many Samaritans who have seen a need and refused to cross the street and carry on. I have been so inspired by the people who have stopped and sacrificed something of themselves for strangers or people they only knew for a short time. These Samaritans saw an injustice and refused to let it stand. A child is clothed and fed who stood hungry and in rags on the side of a dirt road. A woman without hope is encouraged and given the opportunity to learn a skill and find that she has a new reason to live. A man is ill and near death when God uses a stranger to save his life, physically and spiritually. God has used so many as Samaritans in the lives of the men, women, and children of Makutano. They stopped at nothing and gave of themselves to make sure that those who are broken are lifted up.
At the end of the parable, Jesus asks who was a neighbor to the man on the side of the road. The reply was “the one who showed him compassion.” Jesus challenged all who listened to “Go and do likewise.” I am touched and motivated by the many people I have encountered in my time with VPA who are doing likewise.
I have this image in my mind, inspired by the parable, of a tectonic movement and a physical joining of the United States and Kenya—pulled together by love as neighbors. While my vision is geographically impossible, because of each person who stopped to help someone in a far away place, we are no longer strangers with people so far, but neighbors—perhaps just neighbors of the heart.
I challenge myself, and each of you, to “go and do likewise” in some way today. “Be compassionate as God is compassionate” (Luke 6:36). Lives are changed and neighbors
are made through love.
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