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Pay it forward

by davesandel on October 3rd, 2022

Monday, October 3, 2022

            (click here to listen to or read today’s scriptures)

Pay it forward

And the bard sang, “Let us be lovers, we’ll marry our fortunes together.” But along the way their donkey fell lame, and robbers descended on them from the hills, and injured them badly, and took their money and their food.

On the way from Jerusalem to Jericho, they stripped and beat them and went off leaving them half dead.

But help is on the way. A priest happens by in his black car, wearing his black and white clericals. He sees the debris first and then the couple, lying on the ground. The sun is harsh, but they don’t move into the shade.

When the priest saw them, he passed by on the other side of the road.

Out of the corner of his eye, the bard saw the priest driving away, crossing the yellow line, avoiding responsibility, avoiding them. “I’ve got some real estate here in my bag.” My lips barely curl around the words. I am so thirsty, and I know my girlfriend is thirsty too.

A judge came by then, but he too passed by on the opposite side of the road.

I know that judge. He befriended my father once. But he must not recognize me. I’m a stranger to him. Probably he’s in a hurry to get to his courtroom. Time flies, and he must fly as well. But I can hear my girlfriend moaning, and I can’t help her. “Kathy, I’m lost,” I said, though `I knew she was sleeping. I’m empty and aching and I don’t know why … just counting the cars on the New Jersey turnpike …”

A Samaritan traveler came up on the broken couple. He was moved with compassion at the sight of their impossible stillness. He approached them, he poured oil and wine over their wounds. He bandaged them and lifted the couple into his van and carried them off.

Who is this masked man? How does a hero happen by here to bless us? I know his face; that small scar on his cheek, how did he get the scar? He’s been robbed himself? His compassion leads, and I see that as he listens to our moans his eyes flood with tears.

He took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper and said, “Take care of them. If you spend more than what I gave you, I shall repay you when I return this way.”

We began to heal. We finished our Mrs. Wagner’s pies and ate the inn’s food, which was very good. Our eyes, bruised and blue, brightened.

So I looked at the scenery, she read her magazine, and the moon rose over an open field.

And we asked ourselves what we were doing. Where are we headed? Are we seeking truth that digs down deep inside our souls? Remembering the innocence of our childhood? Have we found it?

Jesus asked his listener, “Which of these three, in your opinion was neighbor to the robbers’ victims? And the scholar of the law answered, “The one who treated him with mercy.” And Jesus said, “You, go and do likewise.”

We walked off to look for America. Beside the road, entirely without hope we were rescued without bias or disgust. Our friend (who returned to help us again, by the way) had few words but much oil and wine and plenty of bandages. He had just enough money to soothe and straighten our way toward healing.

The works of his hands are faithful and just, reliable forever and ever, wrought in truth and justice. The Lord will remember his covenant forever.

Do we need to look further for “America”? In the midst of our horror, we have found healing. Now, as the wise man said, “We must go and do likewise.”

(Galatians 1, Psalm 111, John 13, Luke 10)

(posted at www.davesandel.net)

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