Friday, January 7, 2011

The Last Straw...

(photo from
It's a tragic story, really. But at the same time, parts of it are kind of funny. I mean, how many other places do you see someone actually arguing with God? I guess you could say that Job did. After all, he really wasn't very patient. In this story, Sarah laughed when she heard what God was going to do through her and then lied about it. "I didn't laugh." And God said, "Yes you did."

Maybe arguing isn't the best word for this story, negotiating might be a better way of putting it. Haven't we all done that, though? "God, if you will just do this one thing for me, I promise I'll go to church every Sunday." That's usually the first one we throw out, but I'm not convinced that God is really all that concerned about our attendance rate. We treat God like Santa sometimes and hope that if we stay on the "good" list our stack of presents will be awesome.

But this story, this story is funny at times, but mostly heartbreaking. "Ok God, what if there are 50 righteous people in town? Will you do it then?"...and God said, "If I can find 50, I won't do it." But it doesn't stop there, "How about 40? 30? 20? 10? If there are 10 righteous people in town, will you not do it?"...and God said, "For the sake of 10, I won't do it."

You know what I'm talking about now, right? The destruction of Sodom. On the surface, the story tells us that not even 10 righteous folks could be found in the city. After all it was destroyed. If we look a little deeper, the last straw was a lack of hospitality. How about that? God really does care about how we treat our neighbors. Hmmm.

Lot's counter-offer to the men of the city sounds horrendous to us today...his two daughters, who have never been with a man, and they could do whatever they wanted to with them...just leave the two men who had come under his roof as his guests alone. This is one of those places in scripture where being separated from the context of the day by over 2500 years changes things. Hospitality. In most places it's not what it used to be.

Yesterday, I blogged about the Eucharist, the feast of Christ, and how everyone has a place at the table...well, ok, the liturgy says something about anyone who repents and desires a new life has a place at the table, but I don't stand up there with a clipboard, checking the list. One of my friends commented on it and said that most folks don't have a problem with an open communion table, but having those same folks at their kitchen table is a completely different thing (thanks for that, Dan). There's a lot of truth in that. He said that he was guilty of the same, and now that I think about it, I probably am too. But why?

Am I, are we, afraid of the "other"? Are we just so busy that we don't have time for hospitality? But what bothers me even more, is God watching us like God watched Sodom, with the same results in mind? "50? If there are 50 righteous people will you not do it? What about 40? 30? 10?"

I'd love your input on this one.


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