(Enter two people in conversation about an event they are planning)
Right, let’s get down to planning this event. I thought the reading about the parable of the Good Samaritan from the gospel of Luke would be a good one as the theme is Caring for Others.
Sounds okay, remind me of the story again.
Well, this guy is travelling along a road when he gets attacked and beaten by a gang of thugs.
Oh no, we can’t have that.
There could be children or people of a nervous disposition present. That’s too 15 rated. We need it more PG.
Yes! We can’t have Jesus telling violent stories – he’s not Quentin Tarantino!
Haven’t you heard the one about the wedding guests who got slaughtered for not coming to the party?
Well the shocking nature of the story is just Jesus’s way of telling us this stuff is serious and it matters.
Fair enough, but let’s concentrate on this one. We’ll have to change it a bit. Let’s er… massage it a little. Say the man was…
What? Surrounded by a bunch of five year olds who stuck their tongues out at him?
Don’t be ridiculous! No, let’s say the man fell. Tripped, fell, knocked his head, and was lying there feeling a bit woozy.
Woozy? There was most likely blood. He looked half dead.
Oh we can’t have blood. It’s not an episode of Casualty. Yes, the man fell over and was a bit woozy.
But the reason a priest didn’t stop to help him was because he was worried about making himself ritually unclean. If the man was actually dead or dying he couldn’t have contact with him. The man sitting there looking a bit dazed wouldn’t have been a problem for the priest. He could easily have given the man a hand up.
Let’s just say the priest had a headache. He was feeling a bit…
What – woozy?
No! He was on a bad day and had a bit of manflu. Didn’t see the man and went past him. In fact he didn’t want to give him his cold.
And what about the next guy? The Levite – the assistant to the priest.
He er… he had… hayfever. He was feeling all heady and er…
A bit woozy?
No, stop it with the woozy. No one’s feeling woozy.
I thought you said the guy who’d been beaten up was feeling woozy.
Oh yes he was! But he hadn’t been beaten up, he just tripped over something…
What – like the inconsistencies in this story?
No. He tripped over and was slumped by the road. But there was no blood or bruises or vomit or anything distasteful.
Ah but what about the Samaritan? The man who helped him.
What about him?
He was distasteful. They would have all hated him – all the characters – the man who slipped on the banana skin, the priest with the lurgy, and his assistant with the hangover…
Oh yea, hayfever. They all hated Samaritans.
No one is hating anyone. They’re all good friends. Samaritans are nice, more than nice. They help millions of people every year.
Yes, now they do. But that’s because of this story. Back then Samaritans were sworn enemies of the Jews. That’s why this story’s countercultural. It’s about reaching across boundaries and breaking taboos.
We don’t need to mention taboos. A man trips up, two people go past who aren’t feeling too well, and then a nice kind Samaritan comes along and takes him somewhere…
To an inn. A pub.
No. Too much alcohol. To a Travel Inn. Or a Little Chef. And they all live happily ever after.
Apart from the Samaritan who might well have been beaten up by a gang of locals when he came out of the er… Little Chef. Wonder if there was anyone passing by to help him? Or maybe everybody had a hangover.
Hayfever! And you’re just complicating the story. Jesus kept it nice and simple.
Yea. And full of violence and muggers and bad guys and taboos.
Be quiet. Just go away, clean it up and make it acceptable.
I think I need to lie down, I’m feeling a bit woozy… (They exit)