Looking Beyond Ourselves by Thomas S. Buchanan

Looking Beyond Ourselves

And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?” So he answered and said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.”
But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
—Luke 10:25–29

In the parable of the Good Samaritan, there were two people who, upon seeing the half-dead man on the side of the road, passed by on the other side. One was a priest and the other was a Levite. Although it is certainly true that they were acting callously, it could also be that they were overzealous for keeping the law. In Lev. 21:1 we read that clergy were not allowed to defile themselves by touching a dead body. A priest or Levite, seeing a man who looked to be dead lying on the side of the road, might not wish to take the chance that he was, in fact, dead. This could be a matter of having meticulous concern not to violate the law. Of course, that would hardly make him a good neighbor.

When my daughter was young, her mother and I taught her to make the sign of the cross over her body when she prayed. The reason for this ancient practice, we told her, was to remember that cross stained by blessed blood when Christ our Savior died. We told her that she should identify with that cross when she prayed and that, by crossing herself, she should be reminded that she too must take up her cross daily. Furthermore we told her that she should never be ashamed of that life-giving cross because it is the great symbol of our faith.

THIS ARTICLE ONLY AVAILABLE TO SUBSCRIBERS.
FOR QUICK ACCESS:


Thomas S. Buchanan is the George W. Laird Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Delaware. He has studied at UCSD, Northwestern University, and MIT, and has held visiting professorships at the University of Western Australia and the University of Aix-Marseille. He has served as department chairman, deputy dean, and institute director, president of the American Society of Biomechanics, and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Applied Biomechanics. He is on the Board of Trustees of Saint Katherine College, the editorial board of Touchstone, and the board of The Fellowship of St. James.

calling all readers

Please Donate

"There are magazines worth reading but few worth saving . . . Touchstone is just such a magazine."
—Alice von Hildebrand

"Here we do not concede one square millimeter of territory to falsehood, folly, contemporary sentimentality, or fashion. We speak the truth, and let God be our judge. . . . Touchstone is the one committedly Christian conservative journal."
—Anthony Esolen, Touchstone senior editor

Support Touchstone

• Not a subscriber or wish to renew your subscription? Subscribe to Touchstone today for full online access. Over 30 years of publishing!


personal subscriptions

Purchase
Online Subscription

Get a one-year full-access subscription to the Touchstone online archives including pdf downloads for only $19.95. That's only $1.66 per month!


RENEW your online subscription

Purchase Print &
Online Subscription

Get six issues (one year) of Touchstone PLUS full online access including pdf downloads for only $39.95. That's only $3.34 per month!


RENEW your print/online
subscription

gift subscriptions

GIVE Print &
Online Subscription

Give six issues (one year) of Touchstone PLUS full online access including pdf downloads for the reduced rate of $29.95. That's only $2.50 per month!


RENEW your gift subscription

Transactions will be processed on a secure server.

bulk subscriptions

Order Touchstone subscriptions in bulk and save $10 per sub! Each subscription includes 6 issues of Touchstone plus full online access to touchstonemag.com—including archives, videos, and pdf downloads of recent issues for only $29.95 each! Great for churches or study groups.

kindle subscription

OR get a subscription to Touchstone to read on your Kindle for only $1.99 per month! (This option is KINDLE ONLY and does not include either print or online.)

Your subscription goes a long way to ensure that Touchstone is able to continue its mission of publishing quality Christian articles and commentary.


more from the online archives

32.5—September/October 2019

Must Say No

on When Christians Can't Compromise by Joshua Steely

19.4—May 2006

The Relatively Good Book

on the Liberal Protestant Bible Translation by B. J. Hutto

31.1—January/February 2018

Ivy League Advice Worth Repeating

by Robert P. George

00