Imagining Fred Phelps as the Good Samaritan – Sermon Luke 10:25-37

love-your-neighbor-as-yourselfPentecost 8C – Sunday July 14 2013

Listen to the sermon here

Playing All the Roles on the Road to Jericho

samaritan

Preaching ideas for this week’s sermon on Luke 10:25-37

I was just 10 years old when the Gideon Society came into my classroom to present us with small pocket editions of The New Testament and Psalms. I was in grade five when this little book was given to me. Its imitation leather has held up well over the years. After I carefully wrote my name on the presentation page, I tucked it into my school bag. Several weeks later, a thunderstorm knocked out the electricity and I was caught without a book to read, so I dug out this little red book from my school bag. By candlelight, I read the Gospel of Matthew. Over the course of the next two weeks, I read Mark, Luke and John. I stopped reading somewhere in the book of Acts.

Over the course of the next few years, in the privacy of my room, I would return to this little red book and escape into the desert towns where Jesus travelled. In those days I didn’t know what a parable was, but I loved the stories that Jesus told. The stories that Jesus told have a timeless quality to them. The parables that Jesus told defy simple explanations. Each of the parables is layered with meaning. The varied meanings of each parable can take a lifetime to uncover as the stories weave in and out of our own lives. The parable about the Good Samaritan is probably one of the most familiar of all of Jesus’ parables.

I believe that the timeless quality of this story comes as a result of the way in which the reader or the hearer can identify with all of the characters in the story. While most of us would like to see ourselves as good Samaritans, I dare say that over the years each of us have managed to play all of the roles in this story.

Over the years I have often played the role of the lawyer, trying to get Jesus to explain the secrets of life as over and over again I have questioned and questioned what I must do to inherit eternal life. Continue reading