An old familiar parable we’ve all heard as children is the parable of the Good Samaritan. This parable was told to a lawyer who was trying to justify himself to Christ with regards to what it meant to love your neighbor.
One salient point that’s generally neglected in the telling of this parable that the Jewish and Samaritan people did not associate with each other at all when this story was told. Given the nature of relations between the peoples, for a Samaritan to talk to a Jew much less help a member of the Jewish people was virtually unthinkable.
And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?”
And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”
And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”
But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead.
Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side.
So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.
But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’
Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?”
He said, “The one who showed him mercy.”
And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.” Luke 10:25-37
If there’s anything that saddens me the most about how events have unfolded since the Jan 15, 2015 “sufficient funds shortfall”, it’s LCC’s clamming up and largely ignoring the people that’ve had their sacred trust as well as their life savings squandered by a church organization that claims to speak in the name of Jesus Christ.
Imagine the difference to the membership if Synod had supported the Barnabas project and moved heaven and earth to take mitigate the impact of the fraud on the CEF/DIL depositors. Or had supported the ABC District Task Force’s investigative work to completion? Or had launched an ecclesiastical review of the people in question and handed down appropriate disciplinary action?
Instead, I’d submit this is more akin to LCC’s response to the CEF/DIL debacle it helped create and/or allowed to happen:
I’ve corresponded with some of the people who’ve been on the receiving end of Synod’s version of ‘love your neighbor’ and I can tell you, it ain’t pretty.
What is the point of “preaching the Gospel” if it’s supposed believers neglect the administration of the Law in all its forms and completely fail to hold the people that visited a travesty to account for their deeds?
What kind of noxious message is sent to all those who’ve seen by it’s (in)action what the church really believes, teaches, and confesses compared to the platitudes it mouths with its lips every Sunday?
To that end I think this passage of Scripture is particularly applicable:
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness.
These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.
You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel! Matt 23:22-24
May God have mercy.