Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Trip to Jericho (Luke 10.25-37)

I was traveling a road some of my associates had warned me about.  But I had business to attend and felt the risk was not too great.  They told me the road was filled with thieves, that vagabonds ambushed the unwary travelers daily, especially those who traveled alone.  I did not consider myself careless as I set out over the rocky roads toward Jericho.

They approached me from behind, three of them, muscular and unruly.  The hungry and destitute of the land.  Some commit crimes to survive, others because of their hatred for fellow men.  I offered the little gold I had, a handful of coins with Caesar's image.  They struck me anyway, wanting my money, the cloth I wore and my blood.  When they left me by the roadside I thought death was near.  I faded into a world of darkness.  I asked God to be compassionate toward me, to keep the animals from gnawing on my bones.  Through a mouth tasting my own blood I prayed for deliverance.

I heard steps on the hard earth.  I moaned so as not to be missed.  I saw a figure pause a short distance from me.  He wore the dressings of a temple priest.  I felt God had answered my plea, but the priest crossed the road, fearing the unclean.  In his wake stood his assistant, a Levite.  He too crossed the road and the two of them watched me for a moment as I continued to suffer.

"We would be made unclean," the Levite said. "So much blood and death is surely near."

I heard his statement as I drifted in and out of consciousness.  My ribs ached.  My head throbbed.  My breath was short and shallow.

"Someone else will come along," the priest responded. "Someone who does not require purification under the law."

My world went gray again as my pain ravaged body surrendered to its fate.  The laws followed in the temple do not favor man.  Please tell me God, you are not as cruel as these laws make You to be.

Again someone approached.  My body would be abandoned for a third time to the beasts who hunger for flesh.  But this traveler touched me and inspected my wounds.

"I am a traveler from Samaria," he said. "I know of someone along the way who will care for you.  You need not worry about any expense that may be incurred.

He set me on his donkey and led me to a local village.  His friend cared for my injuries and the traveler promised to stop back on his return trip.

Now I lay in comfort, in the healing embrace of the one God.  I prayed for deliverance and the men of the temple, the men of the law, saw my life as unworthy.  I was impure because I was naked and bleeding, possibly even dead.  But the one despised by the righteous covered me, cared for my injuries and comforted my flesh.  Who is my neighbor?  Those who stand by their dogmas, pompous and holy, or the unrighteous traveler, who cares more for man than the law?

copyright 2016 - Donald P James Jr

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