Thursday, July 11, 2013

A Modern Samaritan Parable, Part 1

For our office meeting devotional this week, Jeff talked about the Parable of the Good Samaritan, which is a lectionary reading for the week.  He focused on teachings of Amy-Jill Levine.  To read some of those reflections, go here.  It's an excellent article.

His discussions about the parable started me thinking about it.  I wrote the following as a modern nod to the Parable.

Sam sat on a bar stool, his mood as dark as the sticky surface of the black laminate covered bar.  Another half-empty glass of scotch sat beside his hand.  Hopelessness flooded his soul as he struggled to come to terms with the reality that his business was gone - bankrupt.  The contracting firm had been started by his grandfather, nurtured by his father, and treasured by him, and now it was gone.

Ike, the owner of the bar, walked by, serving the few customers who occupied the other bar stools and tables.  Sam grabbed his arm, and barked, "Another scotch."

"Forget it, Sam.  You're drunk and you're broke.  Go home."

"Car's gone.  My wife took it when she left."

"Walk home.  You'll be better off, anyway."  Ike shook free and walked away.

In disgust, Sam pushed away from the bar, and headed to the door.  As he did, Nick walked in.  Hatred, unlike anything Sam had experienced before, welled up inside him.  Here, in front of him, stood the man whose business had taken away Sam's last remaining clients.  Here, in front of him, stood the man who had blabbed to Sam's wife about the woman he visited in the next town.  Here, in front of him, was the one responsible for all of it -- for all of the pain and loss that had descended on his life.

The hatred that Sam felt was reflected in Nick's eyes.  Sam planted his feet and stood his ground, growling, "I should kill you.  I want to kill you."

Nick stepped forward, toe to toe with his enemy.  "Try," was all he said.

Ike yelled across the room, "Sam, I told you to go home.  Get out of here."  As Sam turned to glare at Ike, he saw the two off-duty policemen seated at a table, watching the pair of them.  He turned back to Nick, stood for a moment and then shoved by him, leaving the bar.

The night was miserable.  Rain fell in steady rhythms against the pavement, blurring the yellow light that shown forth from the few windows that faced the street.  Sam trudged away, stewing in his pain and hatred.   As he stepped off a corner, several blocks away from the bar, a passing car honked at him, the driver yelling an obscenity as he barely missed hitting Sam.  Started, Sam looked up as the car drove away.  The neighborhood was unfamiliar -- he was not at all where he expected to be.  He looked up at the street sign, squinting to make out the writing.  His muddled brain finally realized that he had turned the wrong way when he left the bar.  With a loud curse, he turned around and started walking back down the street, trying to find his way home.

To be continued tomorrow...

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