Today I was teaching a Sunday School class for Pre-K and Kindergarten kids. Love the alliteration there. We had the Good Samaritan as a story and were emphasizing to the kids that Jesus wants us to love everybody. Our verse to remember today? Love one another, John 13:34. In this day and age of isolationism and categorizing each other, it was fun to use the simple illustration of the Good Samaritan loving another person. Not one of his own kind, not a friend, but just another human being.
As I read the story beforehand to prepare my own understanding, I was struck by a word used in the bible. It was despised. That wasn’t the description of the thieves, or the actions of the two men who passed by. It was an adjective used to describe the Samaritan. This was the word to describe what would turn out to be the good guy in our story.
Why would he be called despised if in fact everything that he did was the opposite. When someone is despised, isn’t it because of something they did? Aren’t they bad in some way? A jerk? Everything we know about this man says that he was none of those things. The description seemed to be solely based on where he was born.
Not a lot of things have changed over a couple of thousands of years. We still separate, categorize and reap the discontent of what we sow. As I was trying to think about how to end this, I was reminded of another who was despised. I guess that adjective is not so bad after all?
And while it disheartening to know that we continue in that same path of prejudicial thinking, we are encouraged by hope. That hope is manifest in those simple words, “love one another.” So today in those forty-five little hearts, we plant little seeds of love and grace. In doing so, we choose to celebrate the one that seemed to be despised, but in reality was the best of us all.