So yesterday we had a birthday party for our oldest son. The party was 3 months (his birthday is in April) because he wanted to play softball at a park for his birthday, and we ended up having it at the house because of rain (hey, the Major Leagues call games because of rain too… I think). So the mess was a bit (a lot) harder to clean up and the noise level was a bit (a LOT) higher, but hey at least they were dry.
Until some of them decided to run outside. Barefoot. And some with just socks.
I don’t know about the rest of you, but this really made me cringe. If the ground was dry? Sure ok, run out barefoot, not a big deal. But the ground wasn’t try. It was quite wet. It was quite dirty. And they came back into the house with a lot of wet grass stuck to their feet.
I saw a mess. I saw more work in mopping up. I saw weeks and weeks of finding random stray blades of grass in places of the house that you wouldn’t think there would or should be grass. But all the kids saw was laughter and joy. Our son saw his friends and classmates having a great time. And after a while, I saw the joy they were having and I forgot about the mess.
Perspective, I guess.
We always take the story of the Good Samaritan as a story about showing mercy, treating each others well, and generally to be helpful. And that isn’t a bad lesson at all, but I wonder if there is more to it than just that.
I think about the two who walked right past the man in the ditch, and why they would do such a thing. They are traditionally seen as religious folk, and so being a religious person myself I wonder if I fall into the same trap that they fell into.
And I think the issue is around what they see. Yes, all three of the able-bodied people travelling past the man in the ditch saw the same thing, a man in a ditch. But they saw something else. Perhaps the first two saw someone ritually unclean and beyond help. Or they saw something that would incriminate them for travelling down a seedy road. Or they just saw inconvenience, more work than it is worth, a nuisance to their busy and important lives.
Then comes the good Samaritan. By all rights, he should see an enemy, a source of oppression, and even a way to get even for years of unfair and unequal treatment. But instead, he sees someone in need. He sees a way he could help. He sees value and worth in a stranger enough to put himself on the line to save him.
What do we see in the world? What do we see in people? In friends and family? In strangers?
Jesus tells us that the greatest commandment is to love God, neighbour, and self. So basically, love. Do we see enough in the other to love them as we would love God? Do we see enough in us to love ourselves? Do we see enough God in all the world to trust and believe God’s hand at work, providing for us, and blessing us with grace and mercy?
The world is full of different shades and perspectives. It is my hope and prayer that we all continue to strive to see the world through God’s love, that we might see more and more clearly God in the world, see God working in others, and see God residing in us. Thanks be to God.
Have a great week, everyone!