Good Samaritan 10C, St. Mark's Episcopal Church, July 10, 2019

12 step Eucharist 5:30 St Mark’s July 10, 2019 Good Samaritan 10C

Why was the Samaritan traveler moved to stop and help and care for the man he saw who was near death on the road to Jericho? Perhaps had he or a family member or a friend been in that situation before and someone helped him?

Ken Burn’s television series on the Civil War describes a remarkable scene that takes place on the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg July 3, 1913, when what is left of the two armies stages a reenactment of Pickett’s charge. The old Union veterans on the ridge take their places among the rocks, and the old Confederate veterans start marching toward them across the field below,/ and then something extraordinary happens. As the old men among the rocks rush down at the old men coming across the field, a great cry goes up, only instead of doing battle as they had a century earlier, this time they throw their arms around each other and embrace each other and openly weep.

In 1914 during World War I, German, British, Belgian, French troops in the trenches mingled with each other along the western front and sang Silent Night and other carols during a brief Christmas truce. We have seen this today at World II memorials where German and English and French and American soldiers weep together at Normandy and share their stories. We have seen it recently when American soldiers return to Vietnam to share stories with those who were their enemies. This repeated action of shared love and story with those who once were the enemy can tell us something about war. Many of those who have been there can be our strongest advocates against war. They know what they and those who once were their enemies have lost. They share a common awful experience that only someone who has been there can understand.

Those in Recovery from addiction also know how awful that life of obsession was for alcohol, drugs, sex, food, etc. They can relate to those who are still in their addiction. Most of all they can offer hope to those who are still suffering that their life can be different. They do this by sharing their story of what their life was like in addiction and now what it is like in recovery.

Those who have mental illness who are treated can be advocates for others who suffer this common disease as well. Those who were once homeless can offer that kind of hope. Cancer survivors reach out to others recently diagnosed and give them strength and hope. This story goes on and on and on. We are healed as we reach out of ourselves and share our story and listen to others in a pain we know all too well. This is giving thanks for someone who reached out to us. This is called paying it forward. This is called becoming a wounded healer like our friend the Good Samaritan.