Last summer the Washington Post carried a photo that cast the “good Samaritan” in a new light. The picture wasn’t taken on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho, a seventeen-mile desert route marked with steep, rocky cliffs and tilted downhill the whole way. Instead the picture was taken at a protest in London, where supporters of racial justice and counter protesters were on the verge of extreme violence. A photographer saw someone fall to the ground. Then he photographed a Black man carrying the fallen White man through the crowd, which was parting for them.
Only later did the photographer learn the story of these two men. Patrick Hutchinson is a Black man who was part of the organized protest. When the other man, a counter protestor defending a national monument, fell to the ground, Hutchinson said, “I just…scooped him up and put him on my shoulders and sort of marched toward the police with him whilst all the guys were surrounding me and protecting me and the guy I had on my shoulder.”
When someone in the crowd suggested that this was a chance to injure the counter-protester even more, Hutchison answered, “That’s not what we do.” When asked why he, a Black man, had rescued a White counter protester, Hutchison responded, “I just want equality for all of us. At the moment, the scales are unfairly balanced and I want things to be fair for my children and grandchildren.”
“And who is my neighbor?” the lawyer asks in today’s passage, wanting to draw as narrow a circle of neighbors as he could to make his life easier. Jesus takes this question and redefines what it means for all of us to live with love.
If you asked Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?” what surprising names might he give you?
God, when someone crosses my path today, help me see the face of a neighbor you want me to love. Amen.