Peace family,

The article below and the questions that follow will be the subject of our Adult Sunday School time this Sunday, June 11.  Throughout the summer I’ll be sending out Wired Word topics for discussion, study and encouragement.  How can we be more ready to serve as Good Samaritans for the everyday encounters we experience?  Great question here.  Come and be ready for discussion at 9:45 am.  

 In the News

Good Samaritans don’t set out to be heroes. Usually, they’re simply involved in the business of everyday living when they encounter someone in need and in response, they do their best to help using whatever resources are on hand. And sometimes, they pay a heavy price for being a true neighbor.

The situations where good Samaritans emerge are often created by a person or persons doing bad things to other people, and sadly, that was the case during the week of May 21-27. On May 22, a suicide terrorist exploded a bomb at an arena in Manchester, England, moments after U.S. singer Ariana Grande finished performing. The bomb killed 22 people, including children, and wounded 59 others, some of whom have life-threatening injuries. On May 26, a man spewing hate speech at two teenage girls on board a Portland train stabbed three men who put themselves between the him and the girls and tried to calm him.

The evildoers in both cases have been identified and their names are now part of the public record, but for this lesson we’re more interested in those who acted to help.

At Manchester, the good Samaritans included at a least two homeless men.

Chris Parker, 33, had been begging in the arena foyer where the suicide bomber detonated his device. Amid the carnage and chaos, Parker rushed to help victims. He comforted a girl who had lost her legs, wrapping her in a T-shirt, and cradled a dying woman in his arms.

Stephen Jones, 35, who had been sleeping outdoors near the arena, also ran to help. He pulled nails out of children’s arms and faces.

Both men were left shaken by the event, and Parker, interviewed by a reporter afterward, said he hadn’t stopped crying.

On the Portland train, Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, 23, Rick Best, 53, and Micah Fletcher, 21, were all stabbed by a raging man as they attempted to defuse the situation and protect the two teenage girls he was threatening. Namkai-Meche and Best died from their wounds and Fletcher is hospitalized with serious injuries.

There were other people who became good Samaritans in the aftermath of both situations, some of whom have not been identified.

In the Portland train slayings, other passengers rushed to help the stabbed men. Passenger Michael Kennedy and two other men started CPR chest compressions on Best until emergency medics arrived. Rachel Macy, 45, along with another passenger she described as a veteran, knelt beside Namkai-Meche as he lay bleeding on the train car floor. Macy pulled off her tank top and pressed it against the deep slash on his neck. She spoke words of comfort to the dying man, and prayed with him. Other passengers chased after the assailant, who fled as the train doors opened. They called 911 and directed officers to his location.

When medics arrived, they put Namkai-Meche on a stretcher. Macy, now clad only in a slip on top, as she had used her shirt in an attempt to staunch Namkai-Meche’s wound, stayed by his side.

Macy reported that before Namkai-Meche was carried away, he had a last message: “Tell everyone on this train I love them. ”

Indeed.

More on this story can be found at these links:

Teen on Portland Train: ‘They Lost Their Lives Because of Me and My Friend.’ CNN
Portland MAX Hero’s Last Words: ‘Tell Everyone on This Train I Love Them.’ Oregon Live
These Three Men Stood Up to Hate in Portland. CNN
Homeless Hailed as Heroes in Manchester Attack. Yahoo News
They Went to Manchester Arena as Homeless Men. They Left as Heroes. The New York Times

The Big Questions

1. Have you ever benefited from someone being a good Samaritan to you? How? When have you been a neighbor to a stranger? What happened? In terms of living the good Samaritan parable, does it matter whether your good action toward someone else is appreciated by them?

2. When you see someone in need or distress, a natural inclination for many is to not get involved.What, if anything, helps you overcome that natural hesitancy? Do you think some people are more inclined not to turn away? Does that excuse others? Have you ever wanted to help, but felt you were not strong enough or good enough, and so did nothing? Should the fact that your efforts to help could put you in real danger keep you from stepping in? Why or why not?

3. Whom among your acquaintances would you nominate for the “Good Samaritan Award”? Why?

4. If, because of a deep personal problem, you had need for counsel from someone outside of your family at 3 a.m., whom would you call, and why would you pick that person?

5. If you were acquainted with the family of any of the three men who were stabbed while being good Samaritans on the Portland train, what would you say to them now? Knowing about how the two homeless men in Manchester acted to help others, how are you likely to respond to the next homeless person you encounter?