An Act of Kindness

What do you see here?

I see an elderly gentleman doing an act of kindness to another man who is sitting on the ground. The man sitting seems in great need. The scene is gentle and has something of the everyday about it.

Like me you may encounter people in need, sometimes it is very clear they have need, sometimes it is only because we know them that we know of their need.

Like me you may encounter people who gently do everyday acts of kindness. Quite often we know neither the name of the person suffering nor the name of the kind person.

Looking at another part of the painting we can ask – where is this?

Here I see country scenery beside the sea. For me the treeless landscape in this detail reminds me of the north of England or parts of Scotland, areas I know quite well. Wherever, the scene has some familiarity about it for me, and I suspect many seeing this detail are reminded of a place they have been to. Although it seems familiar I also feel it could be many places, different locations for different people.

And now we look at the whole painting, by the French Neo-Impressionist painter Maximilien Luce (1858 – 1941). Now perhaps we see which scene he is painting.

The presence of the donkey, the roadside, and perhaps the fortifications on the hill, may give us the answer – the painting is entitled The Good Samaritan. Maximilien Luce reminds us of the story, while giving it a setting which makes us question ourselves.

Where am I in this painting? How do I react to those in need? Am I a good Samaritan? and – Do I allow others to be a Good Samaritan to me?

Fr Ian


About stchrysostoms

St Chrysostom’s is an Anglican (Church of England) parish church in Manchester, UK. We’re an inclusive, diverse and welcoming faith community rejoicing in our Anglo Catholic tradition, where people of many differing backgrounds make friends. Find our Facebook group at
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