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Sermon : Sodom and Gomorrah

Sodom and Gomorrah: Genesis 19

The prophets used Sodom as a comparison for Israel as part of reprimanding the nation.

Isaiah, Amos, and Zephaniah call out Israel for its disobedience, idolatry, and injustice towards the marginalised stating their sacrifices are empty and their hearts are corrupt, proud, and greedy like the leaders of Sodom.

Jeremiah condemns Israel to the fate of Sodom for all the adulterers and liars in their midst.

In Deuteronomy, Israel is condemned as poisonous shoots from the vine of Sodom because of their idolatry.

And Ezekiel calls Israel the sister to Sodom for they share the sins of arrogance, greed, and being indifferent towards the poor and the needy.

When Jesus mentions Sodom and Gomorrah, it is in context of sending out the twelve to preach and perform miracles in the outlying towns and villages without food, without clothing, without money. Jesus tells them that if they are not received hospitably, they should shake the dust off their sandals and that Sodom and Gomorrah will fare better in the end than the town that does not welcome the lowly and needy fishermen.

The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah was due to their rampant social injustice. They sought power and they weren't afraid to exercise it over the weak. Because they have violated love and justice, the two cities condemned themselves to their own fate.

There's a lot we can take away from all of this.

With systemic racism being rampantly exposed in the United States alongside the profound injustices done to Canada's indigenous population—not to mention the resistance faced by Syrian refugees—we should be seriously questioning our worldviews at the fact that God saw oppression on the foreigner and the marginalised as something to be stopped with the force of sulphurous fire from heaven.

We tend to focus on little things. We get hung up on them. But in the framework of the overall biblical narrative, the story of Sodom and Gomorrah fits neatly in the message of God's preferential option for the alien, the orphan, and the widow—for the poor and the needy and the different.

I leave you with 1 John 4:20—21, which quite nicely sums it all up.

'If someone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.' And this commandment we have from him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.'