Sunday, September 18, 2005

Ducks and dodgy theology

The following comments on the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) were posted to a Christadelphian forum by bro Cliff York. Cliff's comments about being in relationship with God rather doing something to earn God's favour tie in nicely with my thoughts about intimacy with God, and I liked them so much I'm posting them here (with Cliff's permission).

When the lawyer (ie. one governed by law, not grace) asked the question "Master, what must I do to inherit eternal life" - he actually answered his own question. One cannot "DO" anything to inherit the family's values - one must "BE" - ie. be related in some way to the Testator to receive the inheritance. What does a child "DO" to inherit anything from his father? Nothing. He must simply "BE" a child of the Father. And in the case of adoption, such a child is "deemed to be" a child of the Father.

Jesus is pointing out to the Lawyer that we are to be Human Beings, not Human "doings".

Question? How does a Duck glorify God? Answer: by being a duck!! *

Q? How do we glorify God? Answer: by "being" who God created us to be: authentic, genuine, caring "offspring" of His.

When the Lawyer asked, "and who is my neighbour" - he did what we so often do... he actually wanted to know where his obligations ended.

By using the word "certain" in this (and in any of His teachings) [ie "a certain man" "a certain priest" etc] Jesus wants us to identify with the character - He is saying, "this could be you or me. I could put your name here in this story".

I believe that Luke was the man Jesus had in mind as the Samaritan - after all, Luke was not a Jew, and he was a doctor!! And this story is only recorded by Luke out of all the Gospel writers.

When the priest and the levite (who incidently were the part of that group who were custodions of the "Truth" in Israel, so their "theology" was "correct") saw the man in the gutter, they wondered what would happen to themselves if they even touched the man.

When the Samaritan (the hero of the story, who incidently had "dodgy Theology") saw the man, he wondered what would happen to the man if he did not touch him.

The Samaritan was not concerned what would happen to himself if he had anything to do with the man in the gutter. That is how I see our role in the Brotherhood. So often we see B/S who are concerned what will happen to themselves if they fellowship "Bro so and so." That is not religion (cp James 1:27). And such an attitude is based on fear of what "others" will say or do to you.

The Samaritan put his fears to one side (after all, how did he know that the man in the gutter was not a decoy for an ambush?) and in LOVE ministers to a man who has been abused and left for dead.

What do we do on our community for those who have been spiritually abused and cast out of our institution and left for dead on the road that leads from Jericho to Jerusalem? May the Lord greatly increase the number of Samaritans in our midst.... urgently!!

The work of a priest is to "have compassion on the ignorant and on those who are out of the way" says Paul, yet it was only the Samaritan who showed these Christ qualities in the parable. The priest and the Levite were too concerned about what others might think of them if they even touched the poor abused man.

And it was because the priest and the levite were bound by the Law that they could not touch the man lest they be defiled. The Samaritan was able to operate outside of the Law, and get off his ass, and be of benefit to the poor abused man.

Who was neighbour to whom? We are often told that the Good Samaritan was neighbour to the man in the gutter. But Jesus reveals that it was the man in the gutter who accepted help from his neighbour, the Samaritan.

What he was saying to the lawyer was, "I am your neighbour, you are the man in the gutter, you have been abused and neglected, and left for dead by those who are bound by law. Are you prepared to allow me (a man who you will shortly accuse of being a Samaritan. cp John 8:48) to be your neighbour? Can I bind up your wounds and take you to a House of Therapy (Matthew 24:45) and pay the price of your redemption?

One of the highlights of this story for me, is the proof that God is not so concerned about our Doctinal Correctness as He is concerned about our State of Being.

The Priest and the Levite were Doctrinally "pure" - but were totally useless to God.

The Samaritan, on the other hand, was a man with "dodgy Theology" and yet it was he who did the Will of God.

It is possible to be absolutely "correct" and at the same time to be totally "wrong". Let us therefore learn to become the best Human Beings that God has created us to be. And let our "pattern" be the son of Man who never let others do His thinking for Him, but He had His ears open always to the Father and His breathings.

Your Brother

* I first heard this comment about ducks glorifying God from my friend David Jose, and I'm guessing that Cliff may have heard it from the same source.

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