Bad Samaritan
Meditation and Reflection

The Parable of the Bad Samaritan

On one occasion a lawyer member of the General Synod of the Church of England stood up to test the Bishop of Oxford. “Bishop,” he asked, “What must I do to be a good and faithful servant of Christ?”

“What is written in Scripture and the Book of Common Prayer?” he replied. “How do you read them?”

He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’”; and ‘We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; And we have done those things which we ought not to have done.’”

“You have answered correctly,” the Bishop replied. “Live this every day and you will be a good and faithful servant of Christ.”

But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked the Bishop, “And who is my neighbour?”

In reply the Bishop said: “A man was walking along the Oxford canal, going down from Christ Church Meadow to Jericho, when he was attacked by scheming academics and clergy just by St Barnabas Church. They bullied him, defamed him, and stripped him of his dignity and reputation, and then they issued a statement on the College website about how much he deserved it, leaving him stressed and on sick leave. A College censor happened to be going down the same road, and when she saw the man, she passed by on the other side. So too, a Cathedral canon, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Bishop, as he walked, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and lifted him up, healing his mental scars and emotional wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man’s picture on the diocesan website, and declared that he is a person of great integrity and good standing in the Church. The next day he took to Twitter, and thanked all those who had risen to defend the man. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and I will make sure you are supported by diocesan staff, especially those who control the social media accounts.’

“Which of these three do you think was a neighbour to the man who was stripped of his dignity and integrity by College academics and Cathedral clergy?”

The Synod lawyer replied, “The one who stood up for him and helped him.”

The Bishop told him, “Go and do likewise.”

The Synod lawyer stared straight into the Bishop’s eyes, and then turned and left, shaking his head.