This past weekend's Scriptures showcased two things - the mercy of God and the need to be persistent in prayer. The story of Abraham's standing before God in defense of the righteous remnant to be found in the morally corrupt cities of Sodom and Gomorrah demonstrates both lessons to be learned.
A few weeks ago on the sign in front of the local Lutheran Church of the Holy Trinity, the message read "the law tempered by mercy". I mentioned yesterday that a variation of that thought is even more appropriate. Not all laws are good, not all are beneficial and not all are just. But we ultimately seek justice. The laws of Sodom and Gomorrah probably supported the lifestyle of those places, but the law of God and morality demanded justice. In intending to wipe out this abomination, God was truly justified. Yet at the urging of Abraham, for the sake of the righteous remnant, God was willing to show mercy. If only 50, 45, 40, 30 20 or 10 could be found. Yet not even ten - and the cities met their fate. But even "justice is tempered by mercy" as God was willing to show.
I give Abraham credit for being bold in asking God for mercy, for pushing the boundaries. Jesus invites us in yesterday's Gospel to do the same. Ask and you will receive, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened. We tend to be shy, timid, afraid. We tend to not want to make waves or push the envelope. Yet Jesus invites just the opposite. And so does the Holy Father who told the kids in Rio to make a noise, to shout out, to stand up and make a difference ... and not to do so once and then be quiet again, but to do so time after time until results are seen and the law of God becomes reality within hearts. Our God is merciful and just. He is constant in his love of us, and desires us to be persistent in our response to his love. Good lessons to be learned.