The Good Samaritan

By Ms. Marilynn Knott (Retired Commissioned Minister)
Chair, Commission on Faith in Action
Member, Crown Heights Christian Church, OKC

Luke 10:25-37 tells the story of a lawyer asking Jesus what he must do to gain eternal life and Jesus asks him back “What is written in the law?” The lawyer’s answer was one must love God and to love our neighbor’s as ourselves. Jesus concurred with the lawyer, but the lawyer was not satisfied. He wanted to know the limitations regarding who was considered a neighbor and who was not. I fear our society invests much time in parsing the definition of our neighbors.

Jesus answered him by telling a well-known story, The Good Samaritan. We even have laws that use those terms to limit liability when a person in good faith tries to help someone in distress. We must make decisions regarding who our neighbors are and whether they are someone we can love all the time. If not, why not? You are invited this week to delve deeper into the story of the Good Samaritan, an outcast himself as far as the Jews were concerned.

Every type of prayer form may not be meaningful to everyone. Trying something different though can sometimes help us move out of our comfort zones and into a richer relationship with God.

Lectio Divina which is Latin for “divine reading” is an ancient prayer type based on scripture readings. It is intended to generate communion with God and to increase knowledge of scripture calling participants to study, ponder, listen and pray from scripture. You are encouraged to read all of Luke 10:25-37 perhaps more than once and perhaps from more than one translation to understand the context of the scripture.

The Lectio Divina process seems most helpful when using briefer segments of scripture. After reading the full scripture select a verse or two on which to center. You might want to start with Luke 10:30b-31: A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Using this scripture or another of your choosing follow these prayer steps:

  • Sit comfortably, take a few deep breaths, relax, and clear your mind of anything distracting you.
  • If possible so that it does not disturb others, read the scripture segment aloud slow enough for comprehension of each word while retaining the continuity of the scripture. Watch for a key phrase or word that jumps out to you or has a special meaning.
  • Read the scripture again to yourself again watching for key words or phrases. Read from a personal perspective as well as the perspective as one who is a part of the Body of Christ.
  • Now reflect on the word or key phrase that you identified. Open you mind, heart, will, and senses as you ponder the word or phrase. Allow five minutes for this contemplation.
  • Silently tell God about what you experienced in the contemplation.
  • If you wish you may want to journal about your experience.

If this was a meaningful experience, you may want to try it with some other scriptures from the story like Luke 10: 33-34 But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him.