“Who is thy Neighbor?”
Pastor Carl Larson, Faith Lutheran Church
Jesus asked, “Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man
who fell into the hands of the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.”
Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise. (Parable of the Good Samaritan, Luke 10:36-37)
It was the last day of a wonderful 2010 summer vacation in the Black Hills for my wife and me. Carol and I had taken in so much of the beauty and wonder of this majestic place over a week’s time. We had watched the buffalo in Custer State Park, the splendor of Mount Rushmore at sunset, the magnificent Spearfish Canyon and hiked to the top of Harney Peak. But on our last vacation day, a Sunday, we decided that it was only right to drive the Needles Highway and hold a time of worship on the Cathedral Spires trail, as we took in God’s wondrous creation.
Nearing the Cathedral Spires parking area, all of a sudden there was this huge plume of smoke from under the hood of our car, then white smoke poured out in all directions. Luckily, there was an open parking spot and we pulled into it. Because of the smoke that was rolling out of our car, a good number of the people in the area scrambled to their cars and moved them.
My wife and I also scrambled out of our car, standing a good distance away. She pulled out her cell phone and dialed 911. The dispatcher told her that someone had already called in the difficulty and help was on the way. In the meantime, everyone in the area walked over to us to see if we were okay and ask if they could do anything for us. Many offered to stay with us until help arrived.
It was no more than 20 minutes after the 911 call that Park Ranger Buzz showed up to help. The smoke dissipated quite a bit from under the car. The ranger was so helpful, making us feel as if our car problem was now his problem. He went over to the car, opened up the hood and saw that the power steering hose had broken and sprayed power steering fluid all over the engine. Park Ranger Buzz called a towing service to get a wrecker up to the area to tow the car.
As he made that phone call, we heard the rumbling of a truck coming up the Needles Highway. We thought it seemed a little too soon for the tow truck, as a fire engine with five fire fighters and 1,000 gallons of water came around the corner. How it made it through the Needles Highway tunnels is still a mystery, but they came to make sure the fire danger was in check.
Soon after the firemen had checked out the car to see that the fire danger was averted. After getting pictures with the fire chief and Park Ranger Buzz, the tow truck showed up and Troy took charge. He hitched up the car and we all rode down the Needles Highway in his tow truck to his fix-it shop. A few days later we were on our way home.
After sharing the Parable of the Good Samaritan with the gathered crowd, Jesus asks the lawyer, “who is the neighbor?” The lawyer answers, “The one who gave of himself for the other.” And Jesus said, “Go and do likewise.” In our time of distress and concern on the Needles Highway, we saw the best in humanity as so many came to our aid to make sure we were alright and our needs were taken care of. On that Sunday on the Cathedral Spires trail, we truly did take in a view of God’s wondrous creation. Enjoy the summer and God’s blessings to all.