Latest Rector’s Letter

My Favourite Bible Passage.

Some of the world’s best short stories were first told by Jesus in His parables, and these are, by definition, stories told to illustrate a doctrine or moral point.
Luke 10, 25 to 37
And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour? And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. 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. Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.
Of the three characters who come along and see the wounded man in the gutter, to this legal expert the one least likely to help the victim would be the Samaritan, because a deep hatred existed between Jews and Samaritans. The Jews saw themselves as pure descendants of Abraham, while the Samaritans were a mixed race produced when Jews from the northern kingdom intermarried with other peoples after Israel’s exile. The priest and the Levite or temple assistant passed by on the other side but the despised Samaritan did absolutely everything that need to be done for the poor man’s welfare, including providing for his present and future expenses at the inn.
Jesus was a revolutionary. He was not part of the religious establishment, nor was He bound by popular prejudice. He associated with tax-collectors and sinners, the very people who most needed Him and His message: ‘I have come to call not the righteous but sinners’ (Mark 2, 17).
His definition of neighbour was all-embracing – not just the person next door – but all humanity, not least those in need or trouble of any kind. The Samaritan in the story has caught our imagination and become the Good Samaritan, a term we now use for anyone who goes out of his or her way to help others and, in our day, the Samaritans are a life-saving organization that does excellent work in advising and helping the desperate.

Arnold Taylor