Scripture Reading: Genesis 13-14 (NRSV)
These are rather interesting passages which highlight the wealth of Abram. He and his nephew Lot are nomadic herdsmen who have so much livestock that they can’t live near each other.
Then Lot gets caught in a struggle between five kings allied together against four other kings in what reads like a Peter Jackson movie. Abram’s special forces are then sent out on a night-time raid to get his nephew back.
After successfully rescuing Lot and routing the enemy, Abram is blessed by the High Priest Melchizedek in a ritual utilizing bread and wine. In a show of magnanimity, Abram then returns all of the goods that his men recovered to the king of Sodom.
Jesus may have been influenced in his initiation of the Eucharist by Melchizedek’s blessing using bread and wine. We can see that this usage was for a time of peace and we still understand the meal to be reconciling today.
As Jesus saw the wealth of his ancestor Abram, how would someone who has “nowhere to lay his head” think about it?
|Sometimes we all wander off.|
Jesus tells a parable about a flock of one hundred sheep. One of them gets lost in the wilderness. The rest are left and the one is secured and returned.
Abram didn’t cut his losses with his family. He went after his nephew. One of great wealth might be tempted to let a solitary sheep go – especially if it meant that the rest of the sheep might wander off. However, Jesus shows that God values each of us even though God has plenty of people to go ’round!
This makes an important statement about God. It also reminds us that God expects us to value one another. In a day where people are regularly written off, this is important for people of faith to practice what we preach.
God of love,
whose compassion never fails;
we bring, before thee the troubles and perils of people and nations,
the sighing of prisoners and captives,
the sorrows of the bereaved,
the necessities of strangers,
the helplessness of the weak,
the despondency of the weary,
the failing powers of the aged.
O Lord, draw near to each;
for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Prayer by Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury, 11th Century
Photo by Clear Inner Vision via Flickr.com. Used under the Creative Commons license.