Some tour guides on the bus between Jerusalem and Jericho point to a roadside building and say, “That’s the inn the Good Samaritan took the wounded man to be cared for.” We all smiled when Canon Nigel Ashworth told us this during our recent choir weekend at Manchester Cathedral.
I’m not often on my own in Manchester at 7.30pm on a Sunday evening, striding towards Piccadilly Gardens. Tired after an uplifting but busy weekend. Relieved too, that when I get to the stop, a 192 bus is about to leave. I sit in one of the few seats left, one at the front facing the aisle.
I look to my left. A young man is resting against the single seat next to me. He is wrestling with a sack barrow loaded with a plastic box full of very large, empty cordial bottles. We exchange a smile. I look at the people around me and realise that I am the only white person on the lower deck. A minority of one.
We journey on. Ardwick, Longsight, Levenshulme. Men at tables talking in lit cafe windows. Persian, Turkish, Indian, Middle Eastern. Huge displays of fruit and vegetables. Money transfer, immigration lawyers, sari shops and Halal. A few people get on the bus, but mostly they leave. And just at the Stockport boundary, by McVitie’s biscuit factory, I realise that I am the only person left on the bus.
Every journey a parable?