In addition to the powerful imagery in the story, the practical nature of the help the Samaritan provides and the details given for each step of the process, we have the very clear moral direction: “Go and do likewise.”
Of the many lessons is the question behind the text which shapes and informs. It is the question of defining neighbors. As expressed by scholar by Amy-Jill Levine, it is: “ Are you able to see . . . the command to love both neighbor (narrowly defined) and those who you would see as enemies?” And “can we recognize that the enemy might be our neighbor and can we accept this disruption of our stereotypes.”
This is our challenge today; how do we define, and more importantly, treat, our neighbors. We have to be open to changing our minds and actions.
The Interfaith Study Group, which meets every other Thursday from 4 to 5:30 at By The Rivers, is about exploring ancient wisdom to impact current actions. Indeed, all good text study is about disrupting stereotypes and challenging assumptions. You are invited to join us.