Broken Bread

What if the good Samaritan travels through the same road again?

Anybody who is desirous for a revolutionary change in the society should be willing to bear the consequences

“On the parable of the Good Samaritan: “I imagine that the first question the priest and Levite asked was: ‘If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?’ But by the very nature of his concern, the good Samaritan reversed the question: ‘If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?”

Martin Luther King Jr.

What would be the response of Good Samaritan if he happens to travel the same route again and encounters another person who is caught and injured by the robbers? Ponder, he is a regular traveler of this route and recurrently seeing the miserable fate of people who are attacked and left unattended on the roadside, what will he do? Or what should he do? There could be three possible answers.

  1. SOCIAL SERVICE The first response could be— repeat the good work. He is determined to use his resources gratuitously and serve as long as there are injustice and brutality. He does not bother why bad things happen. He is ready to pour oil and wine as many as times he sees the misfortune of people. Expecting the same course of action, he will probably carry an extra amount of wine and oil for the injured and keep more money for the innkeeper.
  2. SOCIAL APATHY Another response in such situations could be— just ignore and walk away. Callousness is a natural trait of people who continually witness suffering, injustice, and exploitation. Good works become meaningless to them as they do not bring lasting results. The world then remains to be a place where evils prevail and good Samaritans retreat.
  3. SOCIAL ACTION The most radical response in such situations can be to fight against the prevailing system, the root cause of the evil. Pouring wine and oil denotes social service, whereas fighting against the evil order represents social action. Social service alone cannot bring holistic and drastic changes in society.

However, for social action, there are certain prerequisites.

First, a thorough social analysis is necessary. Pouring wine for a random person who is left injured on the roadside may only need sympathy. On the other hand, fighting against an evil system calls for extensive observation and preparation.

Second, social action happens only through social unity. While bandaging an injured can be carried out by a single person, eradication of social evil is a united effort.

Third, social action requires exceptional commitment. Good Samaritans can carry out social service, pausing their journey for short while. They can hand over the victim to the innkeeper and move away. But social action needs a lifetime commitment. One who aims for a total defeat of a corrupt system needs to be single-minded.

Fourth, social action necessitates courage and endurance. As long as the good Samaritan serves wine and oil, he is not perceived as a foe to the evil system. But the moment he prepares for social action, he becomes a threat to the existing vicious order. There, not any random traveler, but he becomes the target of the robbers. As a result, anybody who is desirous for a revolutionary change in the society should be willing to bear the consequences, even death. Over the centuries, the church has undoubtedly played a vital role in social service, but how much in social action? Is it not necessary while the church eagerly awaits the fullness of God’s Kingdom?

PR. JACKSON KURIAN <br> Auckland, New Zealand

Auckland, New Zealand

Rev. Jackson Kurian is an ordained Pastor and Bible Teacher. He also serves as the Mission Director at Fellowship Ashram Church of India. He holds B.Th (FBC, India), M.Th (Laidlaw College, New Zealand), and M.A in Sociology (Karnataka University, India). He lives in Auckland, New Zealand with his wife Reny and two children, and teaches at Ebenezer Pentecostal church.

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