Three foreigners walked down an unfamiliar street on a sweltering afternoon. For simplicity’s sake we had avoided spending the dollar it would have cost to take two bicycle rickshaws over that stretch. Temperatures soared over 100 degrees F with high humidity, but we didn’t have far to walk and soon would be inside a well-ventilated home.
A middle-class couple in a car pulled up next to us. “Where are you going? Would you like a lift?” We considered it (certainly a nice offer to give to three total strangers), but declined.
As the couple pulled away, I looked at the family who had been walking just in front of us. A man and woman of approximately our age, identifiable as destitute due to their clothing. Each carried a baby in their arms. They were trying to adjust small pieces of cloth to shelter the babies from the sun.
They were not offered a lift.
The poor are ignored as a matter of course, not only in our adopted culture but in our old one as well. Who do you offer rides to when you are driving down the street? Who do you not even notice is there?
My previous post in this category noted the unequal treatment that goes on within our church doors. Jesus doesn’t want us to forget that we “church people” can perpetuate the same inequalities outside the church. The manner in which the car just drove straight past the impoverished couple struggling through the heat with their kids reminded me of Luke 10:31-32.
A priest happened to be going down that road, and when he saw him he went past on the opposite side. So too a Levite came by the place; he saw him too, and went past on the opposite site.