I was reminded in preparing for last week's Lament Service, along with some reading I was doing from Open Hearts Ministries, of the picture of the church as an inn for the wounded.
As context for this idea, we look at the story of the Good Samaritan found in Luke 10. Here we meet a traveler on a dangerous road who is beset on by robbers. These robbers beat this vulnerable man and leave him traumatized and wounded. In due time, a Samaritan comes by and lifts the wounded traveler onto his donkey. He carries him to an inn, a safe place where he can receive care and have the time he needs to recover. The Samaritan is generous with his possessions, paying for the man’s care out of his own pocket.
In reading this parable, we are reminded that all of us are wounded travelers who need others to see us, stop for us and give attention to our wounds. Our journey is fraught with dangers, some intentional by those who would do us harm. Some wounds are by-products of living in a fallen world. Sometimes, sadly, we even wound those whom we most love.
So, we need Samaritans and we need an inn. Among other purposes, it is to meet these needs that God has given us a community of people that he has called the church. It is this community that he intends to be an “inn,” a place to rest and a place that cares for people on their journey towards restoration. In community with one another, we learn to give and receive mercy, to love and to find more of the life God is calling us to. We apply God’s grace and truth to the very real wounds we carry, not as those that "have-it-all-together", but like the Samaritan, as those who bear wounds ourselves.
Ultimately, the Good Samaritan points us to Christ. He is the One who heals our wounds perfectly. We will be reminded of this yet again in Romans 7:1-6 as we look at it this Sunday. Where the Law has left us bruised and broken, Jesus steps in and makes us whole again. Praise be to him!
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