September 11, 2016: Compassion: The Story of the Good Samaritan

Posted on : Sep 6th, 2016 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

This Sunday, September 11, 2016, marks the 15th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks.  It’s a day that many of us will never forget.  It’s also – unbelievably – an experience in history that all youth who are entering their senior year in high school and younger, have no personal experience with.  We will soon have two generations in America and each will remember 9/11 very differently.

This Sunday we consider a second question about Compassion which Jesus asks.  It is a most familiar story – the story of the Good Samaritan.  It’s a story about how enemies respond when an adversary is in need.  Or as Jesus states it, “Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the person who fell into the hands of the robbers?’ The person trying to “test” Jesus said, ‘The one who showed him mercy.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Go and do likewise.’

So, what might we learn from this question that Jesus puts before us:  “Who is our neighbor?”  Let’s look at the realities of 9/11 and our response as a nation.

The September 11 attacks killed 2,996 people and injured more than 6,000 others.[1] These immediate deaths included 265 on the four airplanes, 2,606 in the World Trade Center and in the surrounding area, and 125 at the Pentagon.[2][3] The attacks of September 11, 2001, were the deadliest terrorist act in world history and the most devastating foreign attack on American soil since the sneak attack by the Japanese on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.[4]  [From:  Casualties of the September 11 attacks]

So, in total 3,000 people lost their lives in the terrorist attack of 9/11 and 6,000 others were injured.  And, what was our response?  Two wars – Iraq and Afghanistan.  And look at the cost: Over 6,800 U.S. soldiers killed, 1 million U.S. Soldiers wounded, about $6 trillion dollars spent and terrorist activity in the Middle East and Northern Africa are raging out of control.  Here are the numbing statistics as reported in the Huntington Post:

After 4,486 U.S. soldiers died in Iraq and 2,345 U.S. soldiers died in Afghanistan, 1 million U.S. soldiers wounded in both wars, and a potential cost of up to $6 trillion, a new group like ISIL now causes havoc in the Middle East.  Sep 17, 2014.  [From: The Huffington Post.]

What in the world does it mean to live compassionately in our time and day?   What parable would Jesus offer us today as we wrestle with that question?  Given our propensity for revenge and the proliferation of violence in our lives and in our world, is it even possible to speak about living compassionately in the midst of such conflict?

This Sunday we will look at that question in the context of our lives.




 ~ This Sunday’s Scripture ~

Luke 10: 23-37

The story of the Good Samaritan

Then turning to the disciples, Jesus said to them privately, ‘Blessed are the eyes that see what you see!  For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.’

Just then a teacher of the Law stood up to test Jesus. ‘Teacher,’ he said, ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ Jesus said to him, ‘What is written in the law? What do you read there?’ The lawyer answered, ‘You shall love 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.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.’

But wanting to justify himself, the teacher of the Law asked Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?’ Jesus replied, ‘A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan while travelling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii (silver coins), gave them to the innkeeper, and said, “Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.”

Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the person who fell into the hands of the robbers?’ He said, ‘The one who showed him mercy.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Go and do likewise.’

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