Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Parable of the Good Lancastrian

This next parable started with a man asking Jesus a question.  The man who asks Jesus a question is very smart and was maybe trying to trick Jesus and see if he was a good teacher or not.  This is what he asked, "Teacher, what should I do so I can go to Heaven and live forever?"

Jesus replied, "What is written in the Bible?  What do you think?"  The man answered, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart with all your soul and with all your strength, and love your neighbour as yourself.”

But then someone else interrupted “Love my neighbour? That’s crazy. They’ve still got my lawnmower!”

Jesus replied, “Only let someone else use your lawnmower in your own garden.”

The crowd nodded sagely, ‘um’ing and ‘ah’ing in approval.

The first man interjected: “I think what he means is love other people as love yourself."
"That is right!"  Jesus said, breathing a sigh of relief.  "Do this and you will live forever in Heaven."  But the man wanted to know more so asked Jesus, "But how do we do this? Could you give us an example?"

Jesus decided to answer this question with a parable to help everyone who was listening understand.  Jesus said:  There once was a Yorkshireman, a travelling along a road.  It was the M62. He was coming from Leeds and was heading to Bradford, which was a full day or two of traffic jams.

Today, the road was clear and the sky was blue, green hills all around.  But he needed the loo so pulled into the little chef. The man was just humming to himself and enjoying the nice day when suddenly a group of men jumped out from behind a petrol pump.  They took all his belongings – his wallet, watch and iPhone – and even stole his best suit. It was Gucci.  They didn't want him to follow them so they beat him up very badly, and left him lying and bleeding on the side of the road.

A few minutes later a priest was walking to his car and noticed the man lying on the side of the road.  Do you know what he did?  You'd think he would run over and help the man.  Instead he crossed the road and walked on the other side and acted like he didn't see the man. May be he was too busy to help.

About an hour or so later another man, a GP was walking down the road.  He would probably help the man. It was against his oath not to.  But you know what he did?  He slowed down and walked a little closer to the man, but then kept walking without helping him at all. He was probably on strike.

You might be thinking that maybe the man lying by the side of the road looked like he was resting or something, that's why the priest and the GP didn't stop to help.  The trouble is, it was easy to tell he was badly hurt.  The man was bleeding, some of his clothes were missing and torn and he was bruised and hardly breathing.

Just a few minutes later another man came walking.  He was a Lancastrian.  One thing you should know about Lancastrian is that Yorkshire men didn't like them; they even had a war.  So they never got along.  The man who was dying on the road was a Yorkshire man.  So what do you think the Lancastrian did?  You'd think he would walk by and maybe even laugh at the man.

But as soon as he saw the man he went over to him and felt compassion for him.  He put bandages on his sores and poured oil and wine (which were quite expensive) on the sores to prevent them from getting worse.  Then he lifted the man into his own car and took him to BUPA hospital to take care of him.  Though why he didn’t phone 999 I don’t know; maybe he was insured. But that’s not important.

The next day the Lancastrian took out enough money so the man could stay at the hospital until he was well enough to leave.  He paid the man at the front desk and asked him to take care of the man.  If he wasn't better after about two months the Lancastrian fellah would come back and pay for any extra cost.

After Jesus finished the story he asked, "Which of the three men do you think was a neighbour to the man who was left beaten on the side of the road?"

The man who asked him the question at the beginning replied, "The one who had compassion and helped him."  Jesus told him, "Go and do the same."

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