This Sunday we will step out of the lectionary and read/explore a story that is not included. You can find this story at 1 Samuel 25.
The Sermon title is Bad Manners, Good Manners
Early Thoughts: It is a story about hospitality. And in a twist, the one showing really bad hospitality is the (self-invited) "Guest". Still, the narrator manages to try and make David look good (or at least favored by God) at the end.
But in my mind the real hero of this story is Abigail, the peacekeeper. Without her actions this would be just another story of random violence and slaughter set in the middle of a country in chaos.
This story could be a chance to talk about bullying. After all, David is being a bully in his interaction with Nabal. This story could be a chance to talk about welcoming the stranger. But that is complicated when the stranger/guest is a bully. Why should Nabal automatically feed David and his men? And especially why should he do so under armed threat? And these are questions that abound in the world today. Nabal is unquestionably in the right. Mind you from a strict interpretation of a hospitality code David is too (at least until he responds with violence). The stage is set for death and destruction and to the victors goes the spoils.
And then we meet Abigail. Abigail sees what is happening and goes out to try and avoid the predictable result. She keeps the peace. And so many have praised her for her courage, her quick-thinking, her ingenuity. And yet I wonder?
AS one who was bullied I wonder is this the best response to the bully? As a student of history I wonder if this is the best response to the aggressor? David gets exactly what he wants and more--after Nabal's death David takes Abigail as his wife.
So many questions about how people interact. Maybe Abigail's solution was the best of bad choices? Maybe it was the only practical choice? But as people striving to live as citizens of God's Kingdom it seems we need to ask what the best solution to this issue would have been. Because the same scenario plays itself out on fields large and small every month in various places around the world.