Go and Do Likewise

Image source: http://www.patheos.com
Image source: http://www.patheos.com

The parable of the Good Samaritan, likely one of the best known parables in the Gospel, also challenges us to remember the core of the Gospel and of God.  Though so many people know the story that Jesus relates, humanity continues to struggle to live into the heart of what Jesus is telling us to do in our daily lives – to go and do likewise.

As the summer has progressed, I have slowly but surely been able to experience the grace that God is sharing with me through other people as I have worked in a hospital.  In the beginning of the summer, I found the work of CPE to be task-oriented and a bit boring.  Each day was the same – visit patients, pray with them, move on to the next patient, and record the visits in the hospital tracking system.  I found myself to be alone in a foreign place while also expected to be a conveyor of God’s grace for each patient that I visited.  It is too bad that I did not remember the parable of the Good Samaritan early during my clinical experience.  I may have had a different take on what I was doing earlier in the process.

Now that I am left with only four weeks in CPE, I am finding that it is not me that is the conveyor of grace in those hospital rooms.  I am the recipient of grace.  I am received, in most cases, gladly by patients that have never met me and will likely never see me again.  I am allowed the opportunity to hear their stories, to share their joys, to weep in their sorrows, and to pray for the healing presence of God’s love in their lives.  I am granted remarkable access to the hardships and joys that life has offered to others.

As I reflect on the experience of the summer thus far and what the remaining four weeks have left to offer me, I am reminded of what Jesus tells us in the parable of the Good Samaritan.  I am reminded that all of us are told to go and do likewise.  I am expected – ordained or not – to be a conveyor of the good news of Jesus Christ no matter the context.  I am called to show mercy to the people that I meet, and I am called to be a vessel through which God is able to share God’s love with the world.

As I begin the last month of CPE, I must continue to focus my time during CPE through the lenses of faith, hope, and love.  I must remember that it is Christ that provides us hope in this life and in eternity.  Christ calls us forward to be better people, to orient our lives to God, and to share God’s love with the world like a neighbor.  I must remember that it is through faith that I find the hope in Christ.  I must remember that I am called to also attempt to the have the faithfulness of Christ.  Though I will fail to live up to such a high calling, I can rest in the hope that Christ offers to me through His faithfulness to God.  I must be willing and able to share my faith with others just as Christ shared His faith with the disciples.  As I enter each room, I must remember to enter each room with love and be ready to share that love – with complete strangers.  The love that I share is not my own but merely a dim reflection of the love that God shares with all of us.

In living out the life of faith, hope, and love, I am called to love not only God but also God’s children.  While I continue to find the study of the Scriptures and theology intellectually stimulating, I am also reminded that a study of the Scriptures or theology is meaningless if I am not also acting on that study by loving my neighbor.  I think the single largest reminder that CPE has offered to me is that I am called to love all of my neighbors.  The lesson is a hard one to keep day in and day out.  I know that I will fail to live into the call of the parable of the Good Samaritan time and again, but I must strive to live out that calling every single day.  In making the attempt to go and do likewise, I may meet Christ in a hospital bed as I listen to His story.