Scripture: Lectionary # 378. Genesis 19:15-29. Psalm 26:2-3,9-10,11-12.
Had Abraham continued his prayer of bartering with God and reduced his
request to four persons his prayer may have been answered by God. Instead,
we have a new page in the history of salvation seen in the relationship of
Abraham with his relative Lot and his family. The wife and two daughters
are spared with Lot from being destroyed in the cities of Sodom and
Gemorrah. Thus we see that Lot's more simple and less of a bartering
friendship with God results in being granted to live in a small town called
Zoar. Abraham and his wife Sarah are very bold in their prayers and thus
are close friends of God and ancestors for us in the realm of biblical
faith. They started this journey of faith and thus are models for our own
faith. Paul is the one who spells this out so well in one of his epistles.
Unfortunately, the wife of Lot turns back to look at what she left
behind--the sinful cities. Probably, there is a moral story here more than
a historical fact. There is a formation that looks very vaguely like a
pillar of salt in a womanly form but this doesn't mean that the formation
in sandstone has the DNA of Lot's wife! The Bible does say she "turned
into a pillar of salt." One of the greatest exegetes of the book of
Genesis, von Rad, comments on this passage: "where God intervenes in a
direct act on earth man cannot adapt a stance of a spectator; and before
divine judgment there is only the possibility of being smitten or of
escaping, but no third alternative."
Most likely Abraham had interceded with God for Lot and his daughters were
spared. We, too, depend on the prayers of others to help support us in our
needs. Their kindness and affirmation keeps us going along the way that
God points out to us for our salvation. We do not fret or turn back the
pages of the chapters of our past life, but move on without looking back
with remorse or scruples. During this time of the liturgical year we keep
on the journey by being united with the ancestors who have shown us the
way. We rely on the teaching of the "Communion of Saints" that helps us
keep in touch with our friends and relatives who have died. Their life has
been changed not taken away. The Holy Spirit keeps working within us and
sanctifying our ordinary tasks and guides our prayers. We are being brought
to wholeness and holiness by this Gentle Holy Spirit, our sanctifier. He
inspires us to pray our Psalm response and its opening verses: "O God, your
kindness is before my eyes and I will walk in your truth." Thus we do not
look back to the Holy Spirit but look forward as we keep moving on the
journey of life toward the kingdom. Amen.
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