Tuesday, June 3, 2008

my last blog was a parable...

so, i was lying in bed in a bit of a meditative state...something i do regularly upon waking up...and the "rearview mirror" blog i posted some days ago crossed my mind (i could link to it, but it's right below this one). i started to think about who crosses my path, who i stop for, when i keep going, etc. and it hit me...this story was already told. and i started to think a little differently about the players.

there's still the "deer". he's robbed, beaten, and lying in his own blood on the side of the road. and three people come upon this crash. in real life, probably more, but the story was told about the three.

the first one is someone whose life is given to working on behalf of God's people. he doesn't see the crash, but he comes upon it. and he swerves to avoid it. maybe it was hatred...i've always heard it was. maybe it was deep, almost subconscious hatred...the kind that doesn't come out until someone is pushed hard...to the point where they say "YOU PEOPLE" with a finger pointing at the stereotype or collective thought welling up. but maybe it was wanting to miss the hurting person. maybe he thought "someone else will get that...i've got a youth group meeting to get to". maybe he felt compassionately as he went by but he just didn't have the time or materials to stop. could be anywhere in between. "sucks to be you". "if you weren't there in the first place..." "when will someone do something about these bandit-types? they're really mucking up this neighborhood!" whatever it was...hatred, discomfort, lack of time, no available resources, fear, or the idea that someone else would come along...he kept going.

then comes the assistant. he sees the crash site. he crosses the street. same thing. another person out doing the work of God. or maybe not. maybe he's on his way to a movie with friends...let's say small group friends. or dinner at this pretty sweet new skewer joint. maybe his family is getting ready to go on vacation and he needs to get home. maybe the dog needs to be walked. maybe he's tired of seeing beat-up people in the road on his way to and from work and since he can't stop for all of them, it doesn't seem fair to help one of them. maybe he thinks he's better than the crash victim and thinks to himself "man...i'm glad God has my back!" maybe he flips him a church invite card so that when the guy is well...if he ever gets well...he can come and see what God has in store for him.

so many maybe's...so little time. and it could be he does have somewhere to be so he swerves to avoid the crash, looks back and thinks "is there something i should be doing?" maybe that illegitimate compassion wells up inside him as he sees the victim and he lifts a prayer to thank God it's not his kid lying in the road.

one more guy. oh, he's not much of a guy. in fact, his lifestyle is routinely pointed out as immoral. definitely NOT a part of the people of God. they can tell just looking at him. they can certainly tell by talking to him. this guy is not who they want in their neighborhood. this is the guy they move away from. this is the guy that nobody even thinks to invite to temple...why would they? he's an idolator, or something like that...bad theology at the least. sounds too much like something, not enough like something else. he just doesn't fit the mold.

that's readily apparent. for where the two godly men walk by, this one whom God would barely notice, as they see it, shows himself to be altogether different. he...stops. he...heals. he...puts the man in his car, eschewing the blood on the fine Corinthian leather, and gets him to shelter. he...pays! oh...there goes Disneyland. or the Harley. or the kid's college education. or the retirement fund. or maybe not. maybe he made enough money to put it to work in such a way and still get that new toga. regardless, he intervenes when two men who thought themselves deeply connected to God ignored His heart completely and kept walking.

at the end of "the rearview mirror" i imagined God praying that we would do something about these crash victims. but at the end of this parable, Jesus asks who the neighbor is in this story. he gets the answer "the one who showed mercy." He responds to the answerer (man #1) "go and do likewise." no prayer...just a command.

unwittingly, "the rearview mirror" was just some sort of retelling of The Good Samaritan. you can check it out for yourself in Luke 10.

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