The first reading tells us that one night while Paul was in Corinth the Lord appeared to him saying, “Do not be afraid. . . I have many people in this city.”
That was surprising, because Corinth was the wickedest city in the ancient world. It was set on the narrow isthmus between Greece proper, and its island-like lower part, the Peloponnesus. Its position gave it a seaport on the Aegean to the east and another on the Adriatic to the west. There was active thievery of the goods carted across from one port to the other. Then, there was a great temple that employed thousands of girls to help sailors in worshiping the goddess Diana. Around the Mediterranean the common name for a prostitute was a Corinthian girl.
For all that, God was able to say, “I have many people in this city.”
If God had many people in that most wicked of cities, how many he must have here in our town?
To gain an appreciation for the wonderful people sharing our city, it is necessary for us to turn off the TVs, to lay aside the newspapers, and to get out. The papers I looked at today both carried the story of a priest who fathered a child. The papers make no mention of this town’s priests who are teaching schools, visiting nursing homes answering the doorbell to callers.
On a walk through your neighborhood you might pass by a hundred well kept lawns before you see one gone to weeds, but it’s that last one you will see pictured in the newspaper.
If you have gone for years without riding a city bus, you might have wondered what those black people were up to. If you take to riding the buses you will see that many are reading Bibles. Others are reading course material for school. People on their way to work will talk about their jobs. They are friendly, laughing easily. God has many people in this city.