Sunday, 22 May 2016

Parables for Today: The Pharisee and the Samaritan Woman

Parables for Today

Today's parable covers much the same ground as Soren Kierkegaard, who wrote:

In the splendid cathedral the Honorable Right Reverend Geheime-GeneralOber-Hof-Prædikant [Private Chief Royal Chaplain] comes forward, the chosen favorite of the elite world; he comes forward before a chosen circle of the chosen ones and, deeply moved, preaches on the text he has himself chosen, “God has chosen the lowly and the despised in the world” —and there is no one who laughs.

The Pharisee and the Samaritan Woman

There was once a Pharisee who went to pray, and he stood in the Temple where he could be seen by many, because he had fine robes, and liked to be seen by others wearing them.

He spoke loudly, because he liked the sound of his own voice, and he liked others to hear him.

‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like the Samaritan woman who used to come to the Temple. I have an epistle from the High Priest, which tells me that which I already knew, that I am a good and faithful servant to you, Oh Lord. And I am not minded to remember that irksome Samaritan woman, who was not even a good Judean, and is no longer here.”

For that is the matter with the Samaritans, that they are outsiders, and despised. And devout Jews do not associate with Samaritans

And in the Temple outskirts, there was a place where the Samaritan woman had stood, and wrestled with her afflictions, but it was empty, and no word was to be heard of her plight, because the Temple guards had taken her away and removed her as a noisy troublemaker.

And now she lived a life of solitude, far away from the madding crowds, and often wept over how cruelly she had been treated.

And the Lord said: “All those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

But it may not be in this life, where there are clearly a lot of people engaged in exalting themselves, and not that much humility in evidence.

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