I want to share a story with you that I heard today at a conference called “What Love Does,” hosted by the Saint John Vineyard. It was told by Mark Taverner, a Vineyard pastor in Langley, B.C. Someone from his church had been at McDonald’s (boo) and had met a homeless guy there who asked for money for food. Even better, the guy bought him some food and sat down to eat with him.
Turns out, the homeless guy had a very good arrangement going on. A couple had opened their garage to him and let him sleep in there whenever he wanted. Furthermore, they even let him sleep inside their house on occasion.
Mark was really moved by this story to do a self-assessment: would he, or anyone in his church community, show the same kind of kindness to a homeless person? He was forced to conclude that the answer was, sadly, no.
But here’s the kicker that made it biblically wrenching: the couple allowing the homeless guy to stay in their garage? A gay couple. Suddenly, Mark realized that he was all of the wrong people in the Parable of the Good Samaritan. The gay couple were the Samaritan; the societal outcasts (especially in the eyes of religious people) who knew and practiced mercy far better than their religious counterparts, who excelled in avoiding homeless people.
I’d love to believe that I’m a Samaritan, but I’d be lying.
God, help us.