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Reflections of a Lay Pastor: July 10th 2016: Mending the Nation

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Reflections of a Lay Pastor: July 10th 2016: Mending the Nation

The story of the Good Samaritan is well known and, right at this moment, Migrant worker we are all called to be good Samaritans.  The question is: who is the wounded traveller?  It seems to me that there are so many wounded fellow travellers bleeding right here on our doorsteps that the list is almost too long to start:

  • Refugees, who are always with us;
  • Desperate managers and employees worried about their jobs;
  • Public-minded politicians trying to negotiate our exit from the EU on the best terms;
  • Frightened migrant workers from Europe here as our guests;
  • Young people whose plans had always included working in Europe;
  • Almost anyone who is not white, Anglo-Saxon, and who gets told most days to “go home!”

What can we, as the body of Christ, do to comfort, provide, encourage, help, support, and otherwise to leave the situation better for the Church being here?  Frankly, if the Church can’t make a difference, what is the point of it?

Those who feel most let down by the referendum result are those under 35, the future of our Country.  The responsibility for healing the divisions caused by this referendum rests with those who “won”:  people with bus passes, especially those with free TV licences, and people who identify themselves as “English” rather than “British”.  What does our Lord require us to do?  What would Jesus do?  What would the Good Samaritan do?

At the very least, we should be making more effort than normal to commend people for their services:  politicians, public servants, people running businesses, all whilst riding the tides of uncertainty.  We should be writing more letters of thanks, being more understanding face-to-face when we see people are struggling.  Being a divided nation is good for nobody.

You may think, as I did when I found myself writing this, that it is not a very religious reflection.  I am sure that Jesus’ listeners thought the same about his story of the Good Samaritan.  They might have been thinking:  How could the welfare of a stranger, travelling in our land, be of more concern than, for instance, temple ritual, or observation of the law?  That was certainly the view of the priest and the Levite.

So, the question is:  Who is on the Lord’s side?  Who wants to help mend our broken nation?  On the other hand:  Who just wants to keep the church, its prayer groups, discussion groups, and its services going, regardless of our fractured society?

About the Author:

Mervyn has worked as an engineer, as a teacher and headteacher in comprehensive schools, as a university lecturer and latterly as a dry-stone waller, and lay pastor of the church. He also serves as Eco Officer. His hobbies include walking and he leads holidays in Italy and here in the UK, especially holidays for families. He has been a local preacher in the Methodist Church for fifty years and has been riding motorbikes for slightly longer. He is married to the girl of his dreams and has several children and grandchildren of whom he is inordinately proud.

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