Tuesday, 6 July 2010
Lectionary gospel reading is
Luke 10:25-37 - Jesus' story of the Good Samaritan.
As I've just come back from a thought-provoking General Assembly, I think I want to say something about where we're at, as a church. At General Assembly this weekend we acknowledged the closure of more than 20 churches, and welcomed just 3. We heard stories of exciting things happening in some places: but I also spoke to plenty of people living with fear, decline & near despair.
I am reminded, in re-reading this story, of an Orthodox understanding of the characters involved. In some icons of the Good Samaritan, he is shown with a halo. Maybe that's not so surprising, as he is described as 'Good' - but in icons halos are not for good people, but for God's people - the Saints - and particularly, of course, the halo points to Jesus. In some icons (above) the Good Samaritan figure is even named as Jesus Christ.
Our reading of the story changes dramatically as we remember that Jesus is the Good Samaritan. This doesn't let us off the hook about 'going and doing likewise', but it stops us getting totally consumed by the 'I ought to be a better person' trap.
1. We are the body of christ - we are called corporately, as the church to do good in our world, not only as individuals.
2. Whatever assails us on the road of life, Jesus is there to rescue us. Jesus will change and shape and revive his church - not all our schemes and plans and frameworks.
Then instead of asking 'how can we be better people', the question then becomes 'how can we be more aware of the presence and leading of Christ?'. Maybe General Assembly's role is to be donkey - the vehicle used by Jesus to carry us home...