As they left Baghdad for Jordan, the car tire suddenly popped, sending it onto its side in a ditch. Shane Claiborne and his friends pulled themselves out of the vehicle where they were picked up by some Iraqi men and driven to a hospital in a town called Rutba. But when they arrived, the found that the unthinkable had happened: the hospital had been bombed and condemned.
The doctors saw these injured Americans and came over to them in confusion. “Your country just bombed our hospital. Why would they bomb our HOSPITAL?”
You can imagine the great despair you would feel in that moment. One of Shane’s friends was starting to go into shock from a head injury and the nearest hospital was several hours away. Who was going to help them? They belonged with the enemies. The US had just blown apart their children’s ward in an act of terror.
“You do not need to worry,” continued a doctor. “We will still take care of you. We just cannot do it in the hospital since it is closed down now.” They set up a makeshift clinic, took care of their wounds, and then refused their money when they tried to pay.
“Who is your neighbor?” Jesus asks us. “Is it the pastor or holy man that skirts around the beaten man on the side of the road? Or is it the person who actually took care of the beaten man, even though that person was the last person you ever expected to help?” The answer, of course, is the last person we ever expected—like the doctors in Rutba. May we go and do likewise.
*This devotional was created out of the themes of Luke 10:25-37 found in today’s reading at CommonPrayer.net. You can read Shane’s story in his blog post here or in Greg Barrett’s book The Gospel of Rutba.