The seeing Samaritans
In my time in the Quad Cities, I have been trying to keep my eyes peeled for what unites us as residents of this town. What is a common experience we all share, regardless of race or age or class, or education level? I have come to the conclusion it is a common frustration with road construction. It’s endless and wide spread. Ask any resident and they can recite a long litany of commute changes, traffic flow problems, and near accidents due to dodging those cumbersome orange cones.
I was pondering when the streets would get back to something resembling normal as I drove down Middle Road this week. Traffic was congested, the newest merge pattern was unclear, and the red light seemed eternal. With hunched shoulders, I hit the accelerator when the light turned green, only to have a large SUV pull a crazy stunt, merge several lanes, and cut off a few drivers. Fuming, I looked to see what would have caused such a move. Standing at the side of the road was a homeless man. He was unshaven, had a cardboard sign, and was holding a Big Gulp cup half-full of change. I watched the driver of the dark SUV reach out to hand him a five dollar bill. Then the light changed.
A few Sundays ago, we heard the parable Jesus told of the Good Samaritan. The story of a man who was robbed, beaten and left for dead. The story of two religious leaders who passed him by. The story of a person who was the least likely to offer help become the one who saved the beaten man. In the parable, Jesus never actually calls the Samaritan good, he says he “saw him” – him being the beaten man. Our modern Bibles call the Samaritan good, but the thing that made him good was that he saw someone that no one else wanted to see.
The driver of the SUV that day on Middle Road saw, even if it was inconvenient, what no one else wanted to see. That seems to be the start of acts of healing service; the ability to see. Even if it is inconvenient, even if it hurts, even if it causes some crazy driving. The parable of the “Seeing Samaritan” came to life right before my own eyes that day. My hope is that the next time this parable comes to life; we are the Seeing Samaritans.
– Amy Diller, pastor in residency