In answer to the challenging question, “Who is my neighbour?” Jesus famously told the Parable of the Good Samaritan, the story with which most of us will be familiar. The “neighbour” in the story is the unknown stranger who has been beaten up by robbers and left for dead by the roadside. The story continues that two people ignored their fellow human being in his moment of need and “walked by on the other side of the road”, whereas the unlikely hero of the story is the despised Samaritan who does just the opposite.
He takes time out of his normal journey to see what he can do to help. He improvises and uses his talents to give the injured man first aid and then puts him on his donkey to take him to a safe place, the inn. He then pays the innkeeper a great deal of money as a down payment for his lodgings and upkeep – two silver coins that add up to anything from two weeks to two months care. The Samaritan even adds ‘Look after him, and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.”
Out of love and compassion, the Samaritan gave incredibly generously of his time, his talents and his treasure. And all of this for a complete stranger!
In so many ways, we have seen this story lived out in our country during the past two weeks. As a Society, we are not prepared to walk by on the other side whilst people – mostly our unknown neighbours – are in need.
Firstly, we are giving sacrificially of our time as our national and personal lives have been put on hold to ensure damage limitation for those who will be suffering the most from the coronavirus.
Secondly, our society has had to improvise on the grandest scale, pooling our talents to care for those in need and to protect the most vulnerable.
Thirdly, we have had to dig unimaginably deeply into our society’s treasure to pay for this medical care as well as to protect, wherever possible, those whose jobs are most at risk.
So yes, it would seem that we are witnessing a Good Samaritan Society, and although nothing is ever perfect, it makes me feel humble and proud to belong to it.
Rev Dr Richard Warden; Foundation Chaplain.
If you want to read the Parable of the Good Samaritan, click here to go to the Chapel webpage where you will find this story and many other Readings, Prayers and Reflections that are contained in our Mill Hill Chapel Hymnbook. These can be used as a resource for our spiritual well-being in the coming weeks.