Highway emergencies—refusing to "pass by on the other side"

How to help if you see an accident.

Traveling at the speed limit on a blue June morning, heading north on Interstate 29 out of St. Joseph, Missouri, I pass the scene of an automobile accident. In a glance I see the overturned van, surrounded by three police cars and an ambulance, with another rescue vehicle fast approaching. Nearly a dozen people kneel around figures on the ground. I see that all possible human steps are being taken, so I continue down the road. I am not needed.

Or am I? I thought about the familiar parable of the good Samaritan (see Luke 10:30—37). Recently I'd been reading that parable about how two strangers looked on a wounded traveler and then "passed by on the other side" without stopping. Finally, a third passerby looked and then stopped to meet the need. In a flash, I know that even if my physical help isn't needed, I can stop mentally and provide aid in the way I know best, the way I've always helped myself and my family. I can pray.

I begin to talk to God: Father-Mother God, these dear ones. ... My prayer trails off. I begin again: Father-Mother God. ... I can't go on. I am pulled back to those three words, "Father-Mother God."

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May 4, 1998

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