At Luminus, we embrace a diverse community by serving and working alongside individuals from various backgrounds. Many of these cultures have profound connections to their religious beliefs, with which I deeply resonate. I, too, have anchored my life in faith, making me a person who shares this spiritual commitment. This shared bond extends to my co-workers, clients, and volunteers who have journeyed from distant lands in search of refuge, safety, and freedom.
And if I may, I’d like to share a story rooted in my faith, one that Jesus himself shared when confronted with the profound question, “Who is my neighbor?”
A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he encountered robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. By coincidence, a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise, a Levite, also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan who was on a journey came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, came to him, bandaged up his wounds, poured oil and wine on them, put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. On the next day, he took out two coins and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return, I will repay you.’
Jesus asked, “Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?”
The expert of the law said, “The one who showed compassion to him.”
Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.”
Jews and Samaritans differed in terms of beliefs, ethnicity, and cultural background. For generations leading up to the era of Jesus, animosity festered between these two groups, with mutual disdain prevailing. Samaritans were derogatorily labeled as “dogs” and “half-breeds” by the Jewish population, to the extent that they would alter their routes, avoiding Samaritan territories altogether.
The mere notion of proximity to a Samaritan was considered preposterous, and the idea of receiving tender, compassionate care from one was deemed inconceivable. Yet, Jesus implored his fellow Jewish brothers and sisters to embrace compassion and love for all, even those who are different from you, even those they regarded as enemies.
“Go and do the same” – these words resonate deeply with why I chose Luminus. While I didn’t harbor the same intense animosities to overcome, as in the parable, I also wasn’t actively practicing compassion, especially towards those from backgrounds different from my own. How could I, like the Samaritan in Jesus’ story, learn to actively show compassion to my neighbors?
Last year, I joined Luminus in the role of Finance Director. Much of my work happens behind the scenes, with minimal direct impact on the clients we serve. However, over the past year, I’ve had the privilege of listening to the stories of many individuals. I’ve delved into their journeys, their pain, their resilience, their struggles, and their victories. In these moments of silent listening, I’ve discovered a profound well of compassion.
“Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor?”
“The one who showed compassion to him.”
“Go and do the same.”
Could we go and do the same?
Regardless of your association with religion or faith, what would it look like for you to go and do the same? Who is your neighbor? How can you show them compassion?