We used to do Trust Walks down the streets of Manhattan during the busiest part of the work day. One person would be blindfolded and another person would be the guide. The guide would direct each step without touching the blindfolded person. This presented an image of independence without compromising safety.
It was interesting, once the ability to see was taken away, how much more aware one became of the world around them. Sounds which would have escaped sight, all of a sudden became noticeable. Unhindered by a blindfold, I could easily avoid people. Blindfolded, I needed to feel my environment and take notice of people around me.
Once a person became comfortable walking blindfolded the real fun began. The guide would often direct them to greet people walking by. Strangers, stunned to be noticed, then became curious at how a blindfolded person could notice them.
The activity always seemed to draw out wounded people. People who looked as though they had their act together, but were desperately needy inside. Often, they would ask to join us as we continued walking down the street. The activity always built a unique community of strangers.
This morning’s text is the Good Samaritan story. A story we know so well we probably don’t even see the words anymore. I was captivated by the words we often don’t see. Two questions, a lawyer’s, “Who is my neighbor?” and Jesus’ counter-question, “Who was a neighbor?” The lawyer considers the neighbor a person. Jesus sees the neighbor as an action. Have you ever noticed that?
Today, I invite you to blindfold yourself. Not literally, unless you have a guide. Blindfold yourself from seeing the people around you. Trust your senses to feel who needs mercy. When you discover who that person is grant them mercy. No matter what they look like. By granting mercy, you might build a unique community of strangers. (Lk 10: 29-37)