Thought for the Day by Elizabeth Pearson (St Chad’s)
Love In Action
In Luke’s gospel, the story of the Good Samaritan can help us recognise the simplicity of life, through loving God, and loving our neighbour. The well-known story which Jesus told to a lawyer when questioned, ‘What must I do to inherit an eternal life?’ gives great insight into how important it is for us all to play our own part, whoever we are, in making a better world.
This pandemic has brought a lot of turbulence, a disruption from the normal patterns of life, which has taken away our ability to plan and control our lives and the way we want to take it forward. As the second wave persists and we begin a new national lockdown, it is now a time of really grounding ourselves and finding our feet.
In the story of the Good Samaritan, Jesus probed the lawyer further to discover the answer for himself, so asks, ‘What is written in the law?’. He then answers ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbour as yourself’. Jesus replies, ‘You have given the right answer, do this and you shall live’.
The lawyer then asks, ‘Who is my neighbour?’. Jesus will not co-operate. The lawyer wants to talk about love and how complicated it is to be open with everyone all the time, especially in his own profession of law, acting for the needy and vulnerable. So instead, Jesus tells him a story.
In the story a man is attacked by robbers on the road to Jericho, and both a Priest, and a Levite pass him by, leaving him for dead at the side of the road. It is the action of the Samaritan, who stops and bandages the wounds, puts him on his own animal and takes him to an inn to be cared for, which saves the man. He later pays the inn keeper for taking care of him.
Jesus asks the lawyer ‘Which of these three, do you think, proved neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?’. The story shows the two religious types crossed to the other side of the road, whilst the heretical outcast was the one who took care of the beaten man. The lawyer answers ‘The one who shows him mercy’. The Samaritan shows great mercy. He does something, and Jesus stresses, ‘Go and do likewise’.
It is what we do about love that brings us life. Showing mercy, of being a neighbour, of doing love. It’s about getting out of that ‘Me, me, me’ mindset and just showing up. If we want the world to feel a better place, how can we show up, and take part, even in small ways to love and care for each other more? ‘Do’ love and ‘be’ love and ‘receive’ love.
As poet Emmet Fox noted, ‘There is no distance that love cannot span, no illness – moral, mental, emotional, or spiritual that love cannot heal. No victory that love cannot win. Love is the most awesome force in nature, and beyond her.’