The parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10 works like a family of Russian dolls, revealing a story within another story within yet another. All these stories are about biblical mercy. The stories are so familiar, we fail to register their strangeness. To neighbor someone is to embody the mercy that any given situation demands.
Are we neighbors? Do we show mercy?
In the kingdom of God, compassion trumps purity. The parable prompts readers to ask about the “purity codes” in the world around us. Do groups of people, nations or neighborhoods count as “unclean” or “impure” because of illness or disability, income or color, sexual orientation or workplace? What are the unwritten purity codes in our own time that curb our own exercise of biblical mercy?
For a Christian, all the world’s a neighbor, and “neighboring” one another is the only way to live in the neighborhood.
This message is an excerpt of “Story within a story” by Martha Stortz in the March 2018 issue of Gather magazine.
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