For the last several weeks, the story of the Good Samaritan has been rolling around in my heart and mind and has been messing with my life experiences. I'm in the middle of teaching a 23-week series on the Parables of Jesus. The parables surprise and challenge; they get under your skin and they make you uncomfortable.
As a result of "living" in Jesus' parables, I've noticed that my breath prayer has changed. [i] I've found myself asking God to "RESCUE".
The parable of the Good Samaritan is familiar, too familiar. In truth, it has recently rocked my world.
A quick recap: A man walked through a dangerous territory where thieves and bad guys took advantage of the mountainous terrain to do evil. The man was robbed and beaten and thrown into a ditch and left for dead. A priest and a Levite (reputation of "good" guys) walked by but neither of them wanted to go into the ditch to help the man. A Samaritan (reputation of "bad" guys) saw the man, went into the ditch and cared for him, took him to an inn and paid for the man's care. (Look again at Luke 10:25-37 for the full story.)
Another part of my experience these weeks comes from Colossians 1.
For He (God) has RESCUED us from the dominion of darkness
and brought us into the Kingdom of the Son he loves.
In Him, (Jesus the Son) we have redemption, the forgiveness of sin.
When I became a Jesus-follower forty years ago, these words described God's mercy and grace to me. I was young, stupid, striving to find myself and my place in the world. I was in a ditch and God rescued me.
The ditch is always in a dangerous territory. It is where the dominion of darkness and the Enemy of our souls do all kinds of evil. When we are bloodied and beaten in body or soul, the only way out of the ditch is the mercy of God. So, in my 20s I asked God to RESCUE me, to forgive me and to redeem me. For all these years I've lived mercifully and graciously RESCUED and redeemed. I'm grateful.
Some implications --
So we pray: Lord, rescue us that we may accompany you as you rescue others. Triune God, RESCUE. Amen.
[i] Breath Prayer is the word or phrase we use to acknowledge God's continual presence and to confess our ongoing, moment-by-moment need of his mercy and grace. One's breath prayer is a gift from the Spirit and may change with one's life experiences. Instead of praying the name of Jesus, or my long-time favorite— "Unto you, O Lord, I lift up my soul; I put my TRUST in you." I've found myself asking God to "Rescue."