What is a Samaritan Service

Posted: July 14, 2019 by Ty in Spirituality
Tags: , ,

July 14, 2019

Order of Service

10:30 a.m. Centennial Presbyterian Church (Thank you to Presbyterian Church in Canada for the Liturgical pieces, Children’s time and Sermon are my own)

 

Entry of the Word

Welcome and Announcements

 

Call To Worship

Leader: Let us turn to God with confidence and expectation.

All: In you, O God, we place our trust.

Leader: Let us ask God to show us the road to follow.

All: Lead us, O God, in your truth and teach us your way.

Leader:  Let us seek hope in the Lord who is our salvation.

All: All day long we will put our hope in the God who saves us.

 Time of Praise:

He is Mighty To Save

Fruits of all creation

Open the Eyes of My Heart

 Prayers:

Prayers of Adoration

God of all beginnings, we come before you to praise and adore you.

We stand in awe of all you have created;

the vast expanse of the universe and the tiny beauty of a raindrop

together reflect your glory.

You have blessed creation with life and meaning.

As we marvel at your works,

we praise you for all you do in the world around us.

All praise and glory belong to you, Almighty God.

Prayer of Confession:

God of loving kindness,

Christ called us to love you above all else

and to love our neighbour as ourselves.

Yet so often we forget you

and fail to act in loving ways toward those around us.

We are distracted by our own needs, forgetful of the needs of others.

We lose sight of you in the busyness with which we fill our lives.

Slow us down and center us in you.

Create in us new hearts

so that we can love and live as faithful disciples of Jesus. Amen.

Assurance of Pardon:

Hear the good news! Christ entered the world to free us from all sin.

Through the love of God and the grace of Jesus Christ, we are forgiven!

God calls us to reflect more fully the life of Christ,

So let us forgive one another and be at peace. Amen.

 The Lord’s Prayer

Children’s Time

-Walk with a mirror around for them to look into, and ask, who do you see?

-Ask them to look out at the congregation and ask who do you see?

 Do you want to know a secret? Each and every one of you is an image of God. Jesus wants you to love yourself for the blessed way you are created, just the way you are. Each and every person out there is a blessed creation of God, and Jesus wants us to love them with the same love as ourselves, as a blessed creation just the way they are… and the coolest part of the secret…by doing that…we are loving God with our everything…

Let’s pray…

Hymns

BP 229 – Jesu, Jesu, fill us with your love

BP-674There’s a Spirit in the Air

Scripture:

Luke 10:25-37

 Sermon: What’s a Samaritan?

It is a question that has shaped the last 21 years of my ministry, and even before I knew the story and the questions set out in this passage my life. Who is my neighbour? A deeper question to be asked then from this parable is the question of what is a Samaritan, as that is the example Jesus gives.

While reflecting on what to share this morning, the Spirit reminded me of a story from my formation as a monastic, the simple story of Clare of Assisi. It is an ancient story from Easter time around 1228. See, Clare was a formerly wealthy lady who gave up everything to follow a life in Jesus. She had founded an order, the Poor Clares, what we would know as Nuns. As was the custom, Nuns were to stay cloistered, that is within their convent to only do prayer and chores, never to venture into the outside world, and observe rotations of holy silence. Yet, Clare had some issues with that. See, her sisters and her loved the poor. They would go out and ensure they had food, clothing and shelter even if it meant giving whatever they had in the convent, or the local parishes. They loved to sing and dance, spreading joy wherever they went. They got in trouble a lot for not being “Christian” enough. In fact, for those church history buffs, this battle on not being “Christian enough” for Clare and her sisters last 3 popes. That’s the big guy in charge of the church back then. Finally, the third one was at his wit’s end of how dare these women behave in such a manner feeding the poor, singing, dancing, caring for whomever they came across, or knocked upon their door…what a scandalous thing.

He sent out a group of old “holy men” to go upon the convent, and finally end this nonsense and ensure that they either stayed put praying, or were severed from the church forever. These old men knocked upon the door around supper time and were welcomed in by the sisters, who had just returned from doing those things they shant. The sisters apologized for such a sparse larder, but offered a thin soup and some fresh bread to refresh the holy men after their journey. They already started in on the sisters of their foolishness, and unwise use of food and money, and how they should not be going out and putting themselves in danger, don’t they know the uncleanness of “THOSE” people. Clare made some mumblings, when the bread came out of the oven the lead holy man challenged her… “You say the blessing and let’s see what the false God you follow has to say”…

Clare said grace. A light breeze flowed through the room, the old men felt their aches, and pains fade away. On the buns rose crosses that startled them, as a faint voice said, this is Clare and her sisters, my beloved family.

When the old holy men returned to the Pope, he demanded to know if the sisters were properly Christian. The response was simple, they are with Jesus.

This story echoes in my heart when I think of the parable here Jesus has brought us to. For it challenges what is conventionally church.

Luke had a purpose in recording it. The Gospel of Luke is the third gospel in the Christian Testament. Luke, by trade was a physician, he had been disciple in the faith by Paul, who was not an original follower of Jesus in fact the guy liked to kill us before he too heard that voice calling him beloved. Paul worked to form the early church and deal with the hypocrisies, the struggles of the old having to give way to the new for the Holy Spirit to continue flowing, and the pettiness. Luke knew of this all, and was in the midst when he set out to write his Gospel, and its sequel, Acts, to lay out an orderly history of the church. The term Gospel means political statement. The Emperor had one, so Luke, and the early church by choosing that term for the story was laying out what life on this earth was meant to be. Jesus’ followers were disciples, not because he was mentoring and teaching, that was part of it, but they were doing life together in all the good, bad and ugly that means.

Which brings us into this dusty old market place, where the tradesman turned Rabbi, is teaching. It is not traditional classroom learning towards the test, rather it is discussion, debate, questioning and seeing what emerges. It is creating, and discovery. This is after Jesus had just sent out 72 of his disciples two by two, to live out this new way of life in their communities, they had returned sharing the challenges and joys of the mission.

This is where Jesus is challenged:

25 And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” 27 And he answered, “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.” 28 And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”

Fairly straight forward. Jesus lays out the summation of the Hebrew Bible, the holy texts of Israel, what we call our Old Testament. This circle of love of God-Neighbour-Self. Why? A simple Latin term, Imageo Dei, the image of God. Just like our kids taught us, a few minutes ago.

Yet, here was a lawyer who did not get it, for he follows up with a deeper theological question:

29 But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

See, the lawyer, the learned religious guy here wanted the safe “holy answer”. Our neighbour is the one that is like us. The one that acts, lives, probably looks like and worships as we do. The safe answer for Jesus to give. Instead Jesus walks through this story:

30 Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side.32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.

We have a chap in distress here. Probably bleeding out. Now we can rationalize this behaviour away through historical context, religious observance, choose the rationalization you want with these two holy people. They were not permitted to interact with non-religious, and they were not supposed to touch those unclean-which means in medical distress, mental health distress, addiction, or dead… so they were being their “HOLY” selves. Jesus is talking to his folks, but he is also reaching forward 2,000 years and speaking to us…what does our “HOLY” selves allow us to rationalize away in behaviours? It may not be a man bleeding out, but we have all heard the turn of phrases “I always sit here” “that’s not how we do it” “the kids are too noisy” “You need to learn our way”; or my personal favourite after 20 years in ministry, “that’s just how the church is deal with it.”

This was Jesus’ response to the tried and true rationalizations, a man in a life and death situation with the religious just being holy.

33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him.35 And the next day he took out two denarii[c] and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’

What is a Samaritan? We have done a good thing by making an icon of the Good Samaritan for his compassion and care. Stepping outside the holy, to be present and neighborly. The Samaritans were seen as other, unholy, and even traitorous to the nation of Israel. Samaritans were part of intermarriage during the exile of Israel so they never returned, in fact they made their own nation, and way to Worship and Celebrate God. This person was seen as other, as Non-religious. All those rationalizations we can come up with as church to ensure we still feel righteous; well this was the person they were directed to. In our ancient fable, the Samaritan was Clare. In our current world it can be other denominations, religions, cultures, persons with disabilities, mental health issues, addictions, those not part of our socio-economic class, or or or I am sure the list can go on and on…for we use the rationalizations to prove our holiness to exclude others.

Jesus uses the Samaritan in this story as a philosophical heart challenge:

36 Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”

The lawyer couldn’t name the other, but he still had to point to the act of mercy. The gathered heard that the religious had failed to love the Imageo Dei before them, and it was that they had always been taught was other, had stepped in and lived the Love Commandment.

This is not a passage with easy answers for our own spiritual journey or communal journey. It is designed to remind us of needing to love ourselves, and not let the negative soundtrack life or others try to place on us to bring us down. It reminds us, to not put that on someone else. It also challenges us that what we think is religious and holy, if founded in exclusion is not the Gospel of Jesus that pushed boundaries to draw the circle wide. Found ways to make God accessible, God’s family inclusive, and through the Holy Spirit a courageous safe place for belonging.

As we go forward this week to contemplate this story, take these questions:

  1. When are you or have you been the “Holy Men”?
  2. When are you or have you been “The untouchable”?
  3. When are you or have you been blessed to be “The Samaritan?”

And, how can we be like the one that showed God’s love in its completeness as church?

Offering

Dedication of Offering:

God of Love, Hear our Prayer

Prayers of the People

I am going to open up, and then leave a space for you to silently or verbally say your prayers of celebration, petition, or whatever you feel that you want lifted at this moment…

(a few minutes of silence)…

Closing…

Hymn

BP 373 Jesus Loves Me

Benediction and Choral Commissioning:

Go Now and Pass it on

 

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