Based on: Luke 10:25-37
"Go and do likewise." These are the ending words from the scripture Charlie's family chose. It was chosen because in their eyes this scripture is most representative of Charlie's life as husband, father, friend, physician, and gentleman.
"Go and do likewise." These words at the end of Luke's story often get lost in the trivialities when the parable of the Good Samaritan becomes just another story about how to act. Yet this powerful story can signal to us there is much more than simply helping others.
The story itself, during Jesus' time was so compelling because it turned upside down the regular world view of the people listening. Samaritans were not good in the eyes of the society in which Jesus lived. Samaritans were outcasts, persons of suspicion, persons who did not live and worship according to the appropriate norms of the day. You may rest assured that Jesus' audience was expecting to hear a hero story, with one of their own kind as the hero. Yet the story Jesus told cast the hero as someone unexpected, even shunned.
This left Jesus' audience in an awkward position, just as it can leave us in the same place. If the prevailing hero is not someone like us, who are we in the story? We can choose the priest or the Levite, but we want to think we would never walk by someone in need. We can choose to be the victim, but we don't want to think of ourselves as needy. And so we're left with someone not like us at all; someone who acted out of kindness and love to a person who probably would have walked by him, had the roles been reversed.
The kicks in the story - as there always are in these stories of Jesus - are two things. The first you just heard: someone unexpected is the hero. The second is this: "Go and do likewise."
And that speaks to the inner integrity and focus of the life of Charlie Allnutt. Charlie spoke and moved in this new world of Jesus Christ. He found it in the community here at Trinity, and when he heard it here, he went and did likewise. Doing likewise was deeply part of Charlie's nature even before he arrived here. It was who he was born and died as. And it is who he is, risen in Christ.
Charlie knew that to "go and do likewise" meant initiating a new world. Charlie's world was a world in which kindness and mercy reach out to even those unexpected ones, those shunned by others.
"Go and do likewise" is what ushers in a new order, a resurrected order, a resurrected life. It is the world Jesus initiates in this story when he says to us, "Go and do likewise." It is the world into which Charlie has now moved in Christ, the resurrected life of our Lord Jesus Christ.
If there is any way to honor Charlie for what he gave you, it is this: to listen and heed the words of Christ Jesus, "Go and do likewise." Be an unexpected hero. "Go and do likewise, and live a resurrected life. AMEN.
The Rev Nicolette Papanek
Trinity Episcopal Church