Luke 10:30-35 (CEV)
30 Jesus replied:
As a man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, robbers attacked him and grabbed everything he had. They beat him up and ran off, leaving him half dead.
31 A priest happened to be going down the same road. But when he saw the man, he walked by on the other side.32 Later a temple helper came to the same place. But when he saw the man who had been beaten up, he also went by on the other side.
33 A man from Samaria then came traveling along that road. When he saw the man, he felt sorry for him 34 and went over to him. He treated his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put him on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. 35 The next morning he gave the innkeeper two silver coins and said, “Please take care of the man. If you spend more than this on him, I will pay you when I return.”
‘Police Line’ (a fictional news story – viewer discretion is advised)
Police in Barrie are continuing their investigation into events that played out last night along Dunlop St.
Initial reports suggest that a 39-year-old woman was on her way home from a local bar about 10:30 pm last night when a group of men tackled her at the entrance to the alley next to the Creative Space. The group of five surrounded her, beat and raped her, leaving her half-dead and unconscious in the -10o weather.
A number of theatre go-ers told this paper that they had noticed “some sort of altercation” taking place on the north side of Dunlop St. as they left their production at the Mady Centre yesterday evening, but patrons gave the group a “wide berth”.
In fact, despite regular traffic up and down the street, the woman lay there for an estimated hour and a half before help finally came in an unusual form: a homeless man with a lengthy criminal history, known by area homeless staff to have “significant mental illness”.
“Ken* is one of several ‘regulars’ you might have passed by when walking along Dunlop St.” said the director of the David Busby Centre when interviewed this morning. “Like many, he finds the shelter system challenging, and prefers to wander the streets at night. Clearly, last night, this made the difference between life or death for this woman.”
That’s because Ken is said to have come across the woman in the alleyway. Realizing her condition, he took off his jacket, hat and gloves, and wrapped the woman in the blanket he had in his pack. He then left his pack in the alley, picked the woman up and started walking with her to RVH.
“Many of our street affected individuals have a strained relationship with law enforcement. They don’t have cell phones, and there are few options for making a phone call without one. Ken isn’t much for talking at the best of times, and I think he just felt like this was the easiest, fastest, surest way to get her the help he needed.”
The man covered the 4.5 kilometer journey in less than an hour with the woman in his arms. Although banned from hospital property due to previous security violations, the man brought her into the ER, and placed her gently in a wheelchair before being escorted back off the property.
Hospital staff confirm that the woman is in serious but stable condition, and that she owes her life to the help she received from Ken.
* Not his real name.
The story of the Good Samaritan is what some people call a ‘story template’. We can retell it in whatever context and culture and time period we live in, and it will continue to be powerful, provided we understand the basic elements of the story: someone left vulnerable; people who no one was surprised to see choose not to help – after all, they had duties and responsibilities to tend to that were to benefit the entire community, and if they had gone near this man left for dead all that would be jeopardized; and an unexpected outsider who shakes up your view of who your neighbour is – someone you had previously thought of as incapable of doing anything good, but who it turns out actually has something to offer you.
So today I want to challenge you to try it out … can you retell this story yourself? I’d love to hear your versions! Please send them to us at [email protected]