My people

In response to the question “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus responded with the well-known parable of the good Samaritan. Here’s a poem based on the essential message of true brotherhood conveyed in that parable.

Who are my people?
What classifies them as such?
Must the pigmentation of their skin
match my own?
Or must they be culturally
similar to me?
Perhaps we must share a nation and a language.
Or, in ultimate necessity, we must
emerge from the same bloodline
in rootlike fashion?
And are those failing
to fit the proper classifications
not my people?

The Samaritan
who helped the desperate man
on the lonely road
obviously disregarded the above-mentioned criteria.
The laws of transient physical relationships
were not laws for him.
The light of spiritual love
broke through the clouds of mortal misconceptions
and brotherhood was shown
where priest and Levite saw none.*

And someday,
on the basis of universality
rather than consanguinity
all shall say

*See Jesus’ parable of the good Samaritan, Luke 10:30-37

Originally published in the Oct. 23, 1978, issue of the Christian Science Sentinel.

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