The song I suggest you listen to this week is taken from the album; ‘Serenity’ called ‘I See Christ In You’.
The Gospel parable of the Good Samaritan, Luke10:25-37, is perhaps one of the earliest bible stories we recall.
How many times have we seen little kids act it out?
It is only mentioned in Luke’s Gospel who has a particular focus on the poor and those who are outsiders. This man in the story, a Samaritan, was certainly an outsider.
We know the Samaritan’s were despised by the Jews and vice versa. Immediately we are struck by cultural issues here which are very powerful and influential as well as religious rules which are very powerful too.
I am reminded of the Sikh man who removed his turban in public to cushion the head of a small boy on the road hit by a car in Auckland some years ago. It was a powerful image to witness the man’s compassion and humanity for a child in need.
This Samaritan in our story cuts across the taboos because he has a deeper law written in his heart-love towards the stranger, love towards a fellow human being in desperate need. He was being the neighbour to the man which of course Jesus affirmed and challenges his listeners to do the same.
The priest and Levite were more concerned about defiling themselves if they touched a foreigner which would make them ritually unclean. Jesus challenged this behaviour.
It is not difficult to see the implications of the parable of the Good Samaritan for ourselves and our world, welcoming the migrant, welcoming those who have a different faith tradition, welcoming and hospitality towards those who are of a different culture. This is the Christ centred approach.
I often think of doctors in wartime. If you see a wounded person who is the enemy do you treat them? Of course, many doctors have and paid the price.
Sheila Cassidy, an English doctor and author, working in Chile when Pinochet and his repressive government were in power in the 70s, was one such doctor who treated an enemy of the state and was imprisoned and tortured for her trouble. It took a lot of courage on her part to do what she did.
Sometimes we just have to do things because it is the right thing to do.
Maybe welcoming an estranged brother or sister when other members of the family are against it is another example.
Christ is inviting us to be moved with compassion and to be healer of wounds.
That precisely is who Christ is for us. The compassionate one who heals and binds our wounds, lifts us up and restores us to life. That life is available to us in his living Word and in the Sacraments we celebrate. To take time today in our imagination to picture Christ pouring oil and wine on our wounds and to be comforted by him. He is the very image of the unseen God who reconciles all things in himself when he made peace by his death on the cross.
And of course, as Church, we are the body of Christ ourselves and live out the mission of Christ who is the head of the body, living and acting as he did. The encounters and conversations we have with family, friends and strangers can be moments of healing and grace. The encouragement and support we give to one another in time of need can be like binding the wounds of our sister or brother and restoring them to life.
‘I See Christ in You’ from the album "Serenity" is a song about one such encounter.