PASCO, Wash. -- My phone rang, which does not happen ofter.
Answering, I heard my wife say, "I need your help."
It is nice to be needed and to be able to help someone we love, but at times it can be a bit disconcerting.
I gathered some tools to fix a flat tire and headed out to rescue my damsel in distress. As I came down the hill and spotted her car at the roundabout on Steptoe Street, I saw two other cars behind her. Now, I was not sure what to think.
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I was glad someone had stopped to assist her, but a bit frustrated that she had not called and saved me a trip.
As I approached, expecting to find some male type person sweating and grunting over the task of replacing the tire, I was surprised to find three ladies working together. They still needed to raise the car another couple of inches, but their jack was less than efficient. So I helped them get the car up higher, the spare wheel sliding into place as they secured it with the lug nuts.
These ladies stopped and rendered assistance. Their action, and the stream of cars that continued to pass by without interruption, reminded me of a Bible story.
Jesus told of a man traveling up the road from Jericho to Jerusalem. He was loaded with his produce, going to the market to sell it and provide for his family. On the way, he was attacked and robbed, and then left by the road in a wounded state.
This was a busy road, much like Steptoe, with a number of people going in both directions. Most, such as those who had passed my wife, had business to take care of, which prohibited them from taking even the time to inspect the man's needs.
Then, one who the victim might have considered his enemy -- at least one whom he never would have expected to stop -- did stop, treated his wounds, and then carried him to the "emergency drop-in clinic" nearby. This man then cared for the wounded traveler through the night, leaving money to cover the time of recuperation, promising to make up the difference if what he left was not enough.
This is a wonderful parable, but can we emulate that today?
I think we can, although I am guilty of usually not stopping even to investigate what might be needed. Some will say that is smart because you never know what the risk might be.
True, but Jesus told of one who had compassion, who set aside his fears and agenda and shared mercy and love with his "neighbor." The listeners of Jesus' day were to go and do likewise. Can we?
* The Rev. Douglas Huston is a United Methodist minister on incapacity leave. He attends Riverview United Methodist Curch in Pasco.
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