Beyond the Good Samaritan
a reflection on loving

William Loader

He lay on the side of the road,
bloodied and bashed.
Someone was coming.
Someone had seen.
Someone stood by him leaning over.
He raised his eyes to look.
Then summoning his spirit,
cried out:
‘Get away, you Samaritan bastard!’
and sank back into sighing.

The Samaritan drew back quickly and was on his way.
Further down the track there was more groaning.
This time, three men, beaten, lying half dead.
The Samaritan kept firmly to the left,
made his way quietly by, unnoticed.

Soon a Levite came hurrying by.
The clatter of his sword and police baton
stirred the sufferers.
‘Help us,’ cried the men.
‘Put us out of our misery,’ they groaned.
The sword was sharp.
The time was short.
The deed was done.

He hurried on beyond the ridge.
There he was confronted with a massacre,
bodies piled high, some lifeless, some moving.
There was no time.

Not long after, a priest with bread and wine.
Some he could reach;
others cried out.
Soon it was all gone.
Hands seized his cloak,
pulled him onto the heap.
He struggled desperately.
They yanked him, tore him,
in their fierce grief made him one of them,
broken, bleeding, dying.

Three days later a small group made their way
deep in conversation down that road.
The stench of dying greeted them.
‘What are we to do?’ they asked the rabbi.

Together they sat on the side of the road.
‘How many loaves do you have?’ he asked.
‘Just a few and some fish,’ they replied.
‘Give them to me,’ he said,
and taking them, continued:
‘Now, take care. This won’t feed many.
Look for those who still have some life;
then reach over and place this in their mouths.
Now see if any can be propped up to walk.
You cannot help many,
but what you do, do well.’

‘What about the rest?’ they asked.
‘Many are still alive. Many could survive.’
The rabbi wept.
‘Let us go on,’ he said.
‘For today this is enough.
Am I a god to do more than this?’

They journeyed on.
‘I see a vision of angels descending with heavenly food,’
one said.
‘You are dreaming,’ said the rabbi.
‘Learn the vision of pain.
There are no angels.
There is only grace.

There is only darkness....
There is only grace.

There is only darkness....
There is only grace.

There is only darkness....
There is only grace.

And in the darkness....
there is only grace.’