Thursday, July 8, 2010

Good Samaritan Law vs. Good Samaritan Grace

I am digging into the parable that we know as the Parable of the Good Samaritan, in preparation for this Sunday's sermon. When I want a very new perspective on the parables, I always like to turn to the writings of Robert Capon, an Episcopal priest and author. Capon seems to always turn Jesus' parables on their head and force me to see them through a completely different lens.

We tend to see the Good Samaritan as Christian Law: love your neighbor (and your neighbor is everyone), then go and do likewise. However, Capon seems to think that we should not try to emulate the Samaritan, but rather the half-dead man in the ditch, uniting ourselves to the passion of Jesus, who was left half-dead (then whole-dead) on the Cross. For Capon, is not about the law of good works that we go and do likewise. But it is about the grace of lying half-dead in the ditch and still being healed and raised.

Where will my sermon for Sunday head? Am not sure yet where the Spirit will lead. But I am so drawn to this sentence that Capon writes:

"For if the world could have been saved by providing good examples to which we could respond with appropriately good works, it would have been saved an hour and twenty minutes after Moses came down from Mt. Sinai."

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with us all evermore.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jeff,

    I'm up in Scotland wrestling with the same text this week, and have also been reflecting on Capon's take.

    I seem to be thinking about this whole notion of the Samaritan recognizing his "loser" status, as well as his need to reach out to this "other loser," the man half dead, the Christ figure.

    His take brings a whole new perspective, not just on imagining ourselves as the half dead man on the side of the road, but if we are to emulate the Samaritan at all, we are to see ourselves as pathetic and lost enough to find that half dead man and proclaim him as our Savior.

    I'm beginning to think that the Samaritan isn't just being a nice guy and doing his good Christian deeds, but he's aware of his survival depending on it.