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Rev. Jocelyn B. Gardner Spencer

March 12, 2017

Luke 10:25-37


This is a familiar story for many of us.

If you grew up going to church, then you probably learned this story and the moral it traditionally bears—be like the Samaritan, the one who showed mercy to the person in need.

If you came to worship here last week, then you heard this story and a little more about the context in which Jesus and his Jewish followers would have understood it—the Samaritan being the despised enemy, the last person you would want to meet in a vulnerable situation, and yet being the one who helped, the one who behaved as a neighbor, and the one whom you therefore are called to love as yourself.

Even if you neither knew this story growing up nor heard it here recently, you may well be familiar with the trope of a kind stranger who stops to help out of the generosity of their heart or general humanitarian instinct.

And however you know it, it is likely that there is a certain perspective through which you see it, a certain character you find it easiest to inhabit, a certain point of view that fits most naturally with your own.  The way the story is most often portrayed, we are taught to identify with the Samaritan, because we, too, want to be humanitarians and helpers.  But what happens if you see it through a different set of eyes?  What happens if you try on a different character?  What happens if you try to imagine another point of view?

To help you do that, this morning we will experience a retelling of this story told in several voices.  As you listen and watch, I invite you to try to imagine the scene from the perspective of each character, and see what you might discover as you do.  I am grateful to my colleague, Maren Tirabassi, for sharing her work for our use, and to Lynn, Katy, Steve, Bruce, and Leslie, who will present it now.


[readers’ theatre presentation of the story]


Thank you to our fabulous cast!

As we consider the question, “Who is my neighbor?” and as we ponder what it means to know and love our neighbors in this season of Lent, one piece of that work is to learn to understand the perspectives of people whose experiences are different than ours.  We do not have to agree; we do not have to take their perspectives as our own; but we do have to listen with open hearts and try to understand.

And so I invite you now to turn to someone near you and share for just a moment or two about what you noticed, what you learned, as you tried to see the story of the Good Samaritan through another’s eyes.




There is more to say, I’m sure, and you can continue your conversations at fellowship hour, or Second Sunday Sharing, or throughout the week.  May we all continue to stretch our minds, our hearts, and our imaginations, as we continue to engage with this story throughout the remainder of the Lenten season.


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