Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Shortly after the US bombings in Iraq began a group of Americans were traveling on the road away from Baghdad in jeeps. After a while the convoy noticed that the last jeep was no longer following. They turned around to go look and found their comrades' vehicle wrecked on the side of the road with only bloody seats on the inside. They traveled to a nearby town in Western Iraq called Rutba and found their friends, two of which had severe head injuries. They found a Muslim Iraqi doctor and asked him to help their friends. The doctor said, "Three weeks ago your country bombed our country, but I will take care of them anyway." When the Americans asked the doctor how much money they owed him he replied, "Nothing, just go back to the US and tell them what it's really like here."

This reminds me all to well of a story Jesus told that we often call The Good Samaritan. Samaritans were the sworn enemy of the Jews, yet Jesus' story had a Samaritan taking care of an injured Jewish man to no gain of his own. The one who is supposed to be your enemy ends up saving your life.

The doctor in Iraq no doubt had seen the devastation first hand that the American bombings had inflicted on his country and his people. But when he was faced with injured Americans he chose to extend them the same kind of charity as the man in Jesus' parable. This Muslim doctor was practicing the kind of living that Jesus prescribed and that Christians strive to follow, including his command to "love your enemies." Perhaps we Christians should follow this Muslim's example.

One of the men in the convoy from this story lives in Durham, NC. He has helped to start something called The Rutba House which is part of the New Monasticism movement. You can read about it here. The Rutba house is a covenant community that strives to follow the Acts model of community:

"All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need." -Acts 4:32-35

Perhaps we could all take a lesson from Rutba, whether in Iraq or in Durham.

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