Tag Archive for 'culture'

Pentecost 7 July 11, 2010

Deuteronomy 30:9-14                                                       

Luke 10:25-37                                                                     

I think this may be a troubling sermon for you. At least it is for me. There’s a good guy and a bad guy in the gospel today. The good guy is the Samaritan of course, who stops by the side of the road and cares for the man who’s been left there for dead. We know this Samaritan well; this is one of Jesus’s most familiar parables. The bad guy is – not the priest or the Levite who pass the injured man by – no, the real bad guy is the lawyer whose question prompts Jesus to tell the parable.

Why is the lawyer bad? Because, Luke tells us, he “wanted to justify himself.” That is, he put himself forward, tried to assert his own cleverness, sought to cross-examine or test Jesus. He should simply have done what the good Samaritan did, which was to obey what he knew to be God’s law: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.”

So, what’s troubling about this? What’s troubling, I think, is that you and I are the lawyer, not the Samaritan. Putting ourself at the center, making ourselves the test of life – do I like such-and-such, does it make sense to me, does it withstand my test of self-interest – this is our default stance towards life. Maybe, if something meets our test, we go ahead and do what we should be doing according to God’s law. But often, I think, we’re just more interested in testing for ourselves and never get around to doing. And sometimes, of course, God fails our test and we don’t do his law at all. Continue reading ‘Pentecost 7 July 11, 2010’