Adult Object Lesson: The Good Samaritan

Caring for the Aliens in Our Midst

Today’s Gospel is one of the best-known stories from the New Testament. It bears repeating because its message is so easily forgotten.

It is the story of The Good Samaritan or The Care and Treatment of Aliens in Our Midst.

We relive this story in our own lives daily. Sometimes we play the Samaritan. Often, we play the priest and the Levite.

Your adults are likely to be well aware of aliens. Aliens are often in the news today. Many people in America want to keep them out, forgetting our shared heritage.

  • Aliens challenge our economy.
  • Aliens bring with them ideologies and values we may not understand.

It is not a greet leap from these fears to a common bottom line on the topic of aliens.

  • Aliens are a threat. Where there is one there is more—who knows how many?
  • What might be “given” to aliens is rightfully “ours.”

The story of the Good Samaritan is a common plotline in literature.

Use the movie ET as a focus of your discussion today. The story of ET is the story of an extraterrestrial—an alien life form. Use a photo of ET or perhaps you can find a vintage ET toy. Or you can just retell the story of Elliot and ET. Let your congregation remind you of ET’s greatest wish (prayer). ET phone home.

ET was an alien in trouble, caught without help in a land that belonged to someone else. He just wanted to go home.

The law wanted him.

Science wanted him.

He was an object to them. The word “alien” stripped him of his, well, we can’t really say “humanity.” But isn’t that what we are tempted to do to modern aliens—strip them of humanity? Sending them home is OK with us because sending them home is within our power.

In the story of ET, sending the alien home is not within human power and that frightens those “in charge” of order and safety. People like to think someone is in control. People in control like to think they have power! It is frightening when we realize we really don’t have as much power or control as we think we have. That’s what the priest and the Levite realized when they “passed on the other side.”

ET is befriended by a young boy who actually becomes one with the creature. He shelters him, feeds him, teaches him and cares for him to the point of sacrificing his life. Sound familiar?

Comparing the story of ET to the Good Samaritan will give you many points to discuss with your adult learners.

  • Who are the aliens in our community? The victims? The misfits?
  • Who are the authorities who pass them by?
  • Who are the Samaritans?

But remember the often forgotten last verses of this story. The Good Samaritan continues to care for the victim long after he drops him at someone else’s door. Being a Good Samaritan is an ongoing responsibility.

Remind your adult learners of the question that prompted Jesus to tell this story.

Who is my neighbor?

Tomorrow’s post will feature The Good Samaritan in Art.