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Reflections, Images, and Videos from Our July 10 Service

July 11, 2016

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We had a Western theme at our 9:30 a.m. Service on July 10, in honour of the Calgary Stampede. Embedded immediately below are the Western worship songs we played before the Service, to prepare us for worship.


[The following section contains adapted excerpts from the July 10 sermon time.]

[Text: Luke 10:25-37 (commonly called the Parable of the Good Samaritan):

Aime-Morot-Le-bon-Samaritain25 Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 He said to him, “What is written in the law? What do you read there?” 27 He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbour as yourself.”28 And he said to him, “You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.”

29 But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbour?” 30 Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.’36 Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”]

With today’s Western theme, I thought it would be good to start today’s sermon with a story about a cowboy.

I found this video by doing a search for a “cowboy Good Samaritan.” We call a “Good Samaritan” someone who goes out of their way to help a stranger. The origin of this term is Jesus’ Parable quoted above. 

Most people have a creed that calls for caring for others. Here, for example, is Gene Autry’s Cowboy Code.

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Notice number 6:

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But when it comes to living this creed out, it can be a different matter.

Here’s a video of an experiment in Paris to see how people would respond to a homeless man in distress.

This next video shows an experiment in which a woman is seemingly being assaulted. 

Both experiments yielded similar results of inaction.

In a famous Study, described in the video immediately below, a similar scenario was played out in Princeton with students training for ordained ministry.

Martin Luther King reflected on the root cause for this inaction, beginning by commenting on the two spiritual leaders in the Parable of the Good Samaritan.

“What will happen to me?” It’s a self-centred question of fear. The Seminarians who didn’t help the person in distress were afraid that they’d get in trouble for being late. The people who didn’t help the woman being assaulted were afraid that they themselves would get beaten up. The people in Paris who didn’t help the homeless person were afraid of getting in over their head, of catching a disease.

While it’s still under investigation, it appears that we saw a tragic example this past week in Minnesota of what happens when we let fear cause our actions.



This and the other shootings and all the turmoil in the US this past week are a reminder of how the racial tensions Martin Luther King faced still continue.


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We struggle with the fear of being overwhelmed; the fear of using up all of our time and energy – indeed our very life.

We struggle with the fear of death.

How can we overcome and have our actions be moved by compassion rather than fear? The only way I can is by having within me the life of the One in us who when he said the words of the Parable of the Good Samaritan was on his way to Jerusalem, to draw near to us out of compassion and lay down his life for us, who were helpless on the side of the road of life; receiving him into my heart, so that, as our Patron wrote in Galatians 2:20, “it’s no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.”

Only as we know and receive his love, will we have the courage to give of ourselves, as he gives himself to us.

The words we listened to by Martin Luther King in the above video were part of the last speech he ever gave. The very next day he was shot to death. Jesus gave him the courage to follow to the end. Here are his final words:

“What will happen to me?” The Cross, death – but also resurrection!

As we walk the way of death, the Cross, the way of love, we find it is the way of eternal life, of fellowship with God and all God’s people as our neighbours.

Just like the rich young ruler, who asked a similar question, Jesus invites the expert in the Law and each of us to follow him, who walks with us on nail-pierced feet; to go through life together with him, so that we may indeed give ourselves fully to God, loving God with everything within us, and allow God’s love fully to dwell in us, being poured out and shared through us with everyone.

To accept this invitation is life indeed – for us and for all we encounter on the way!

May we all do this. Amen.


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