Thursday, 25 July 2013

For the sake of ten...

Lectionary Readings for July 28. Gen 18:20-32, Ps 138, Col 2:6-19, Luke 11:1-13

Here at the Maison de l'amitie (House of Friendship), a well-situated guest house in a "happening" area of Montreal, the internet wasn't happening for me this week-so I'm a little late with this!

This week I'm struck with Abraham's discussion with God in Genesis 18. He pleads for the people of Sodom and Gomorrah-pleads for the sake of the few righteous among the population, arguing that it is not fair for them to be destroyed for what they did not do. So the Lord responds that for the sake of 50 righteous, the rest will be saved. The discussion goes on and Abraham finally haggles the number down to 10. If there are 10 righteous people to be found, the whole city will be spared.

Montreal, like so many of our big cities and towns, is a place where a lot of the edgy side of humanity is on display. I guess I've seen a bit more of it here than at home in Edmonton because the hot weather is conducive to people being out on the streets and on display. I'm also downtown instead of in the suburbs, and Montrealers are great walkers and users of public transport. It seems to me that Montrealers are less modest that Edmontonians. While hot weather is part of it, it's certainly also a different culture. When I mentioned to one person that maybe Montreal is Canada's Brazil (think skimpy bikinis) she laughed, but didn't dispute it! There is also a great availability of alcohol-every street corner sells it and the street side bars are hopping every night. We've also been hanging out with people who've seen the worst of what society has to offer. Many of the people who live on the streets have been abused, dished out abuse, been victimized by drugs/alcohol, suffer from mental illness...but in the middle of all of this too, we've met some amazing people. The righteous who give of their time to care for the hurting, people who advocate for change, people who don't condemn others but see the good in them.

Reading Gen. 18, I think there is a call here for God's people to be those 10 that Abraham argues on behalf of. It's not that these good folks can necessarily change things, but cities are made liveable because of them, other people benefit from their work even if they don't realize it. For the sake of a few, the whole can be saved. Instead of reading the story as a tale of depravity, we can read it as a tale of encouragement. God is merciful. There are good things, if small, happening that we should be aligned with. And, like Abraham, our petitions on behalf of others make a difference!

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