Readings for the Week of July 13

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A Fresh Hearing

Readings for the Week of July 13

Psalm 82Amos 7:1-17Colossians 1:1-14Luke 10:25-37

We need all the artists we can get. Art allows us to see the world differently. It helps us see beyond ourselves. Art can be used to debase and dehumanize; but, more often than not, art is a source of healing as it draws us out of ourselves and out of our complacency. Most of the Gospel stories are so well known that even those not committed to the Christian way of life know the them. On one hand this is good. However, for those of us who hear these stories regularly, who read them for ourselves in personal devotion, our familiarity can breed indifference.

The Good Samaritan is foundational to our broader Christian story. It’s over-familiarity may make it like elevator music or advertisements we no longer notice. For both better and worse, this story has become a part of our broader culture. We call people who are especially generous with their time and money to those in need, “Good Samaritans”. We have “Good Samaritan” laws. (Sadly, they are needed.) The story is everywhere and this may lead to a lace of appreciation. Over repeated hearings, our resistance is built up to its claim upon our lives. To have this story “re-presented” through art or music or even Seinfeld, gives us hope for a fresh hearing.

Here are few classic takes on the story from Van Gogh to Dore to a portrayal of Abe Lincoln as the Good Samaritan. These might make the story fresh for you again. Maybe reading Eugene Peterson’s, The Message, version of the story will make the story new for you. Even that last episode of Seinfeld could help. All of Scripture deserves a fresh reading, a fresh hearing. Don’t let its familiarity breed contempt. The Good Samaritan, and every other story of Jesus, well-known or not, are far too important to fall prey to our indifference.

O Lord, mercifully receive the prayers of your people who call upon you, and grant that they may know and understand what things they ought to do, and also may have grace and power faithfully to accomplish them; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Paul Hill