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Proper 10

Amos 7.7–17
Colossians 1.1–14
Luke 10.25–37

If you like word-development, you’ll love Samaritans. Start with a geographical designation: people who live in the hill country, between Galilee and Judaea. Develop to discrimination: the pre-exilic Judaeans speaking of their northern neighbours, the people who are like us but not quite. Then post-exilic denunciation: the wrong sort, with the wrong worship, the wrong theology and the wrong behaviour. Then re-evaluation, initiated by Jesus (so far as we know, one of his most unprecedented innovations): people who might perhaps love God and their neighbour across traditional boundaries, and who might therefore come within the pale after all. Then, much later (the dictionary offers 1649 as the earliest occurrence), a real evolution: those who, not necessarily outsiders, rescue people in need. The derived sense, the shocking surprise in Jesus’ day, has become, for most users, the word’s only meaning...

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