Crumbs Off The Table - 22

Abraham And The Stranger
An old Persian parable tells how one day Abraham sat in the door of his tent, and saw an old man coming from the desert, leaning on a staff. Abraham arose and met him, telling him, ³Come my friend, and wash your feet, and tarry all night; and you shall rise up early in the morning, and continue on your way.´ And the man said, ³No, I will rest under this tree.´ But Abraham pressed him, so he turned, and they went into the tent; and Abraham baked him some bread, and they ate. And when Abraham saw that the man did not bless God for the food, he said to him, ³Why do you not worship the Most Hig God, Creator of Heaven and earth?´ The man answered, ³I do not worship your God; for I have a God at home, which abides with me always and provides me with all things.´ Abraham¶s zeal and anger were kindled against this man, and he arose, fell upon him, and drove him out into the wilderness with blows. And God called Abraham, saying, ³Abraham, where is the stranger?´ And Abraham answered, ³Lord, he would not worship You; therefore I have driven him out.´ And God said, ³Have I not borne with him these ninety years, and nourished him and clothed him, notwithstanding his rebellion against me; and you, who are a sinner yourself, were not able to bear with him for one whole day!¶ And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, ³Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?´ But Jesus turned and rebuked them. (Luke.9:52-55) Now the above thoughts clearly speak to us about religious intolerance, so common among us today. Who are we, that dare take into our hands the prerogative of God over conscience? Who are we, that we should punish with µblows and penalties¶ those who differ from us, or because they differ from us, in their religious worship? Master,´ said John, ³we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us.´ ³Do not stop him,´ Jesus said, ³for whoever is not against you is for you.´ (Luke 9:48-50) Let us hope and pray that the time is hastening, when that religious zeal divorced from love, which has produced, and is still producing, such incalculable misery on earth, shall be banished from all human hearts, and its place forever supplied by the love of the true gospel.

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