Recently my brother and his wife were on a retreat to downtown Toronto when, early in the morning, they bore witness to a contemporary variation of a classic story. A classic bestselling story, I should say.
Danielle Steele? No.
John Grisham? No.
Anne-Marie MacDonald? No.
This story begins with two men fighting in the street. Cain and Abel? No.
Are they like the sex-crazed men Lot defended the Angels from in Gomorrah? No.
Then when, you may be demanding, are we going to get to the Bible?
In fact, the opening of the story doesn't remind me of any part of the Bible; that comes later. They were just two men in a quarrel. A big one. . .
. . .and they were outside an INN. A Holiday Inn.
This is where, for me, the story starts taking on some more Biblical qualities. As the men disengage, one retreats to the inn, and the other is left in the street to proclaim himself the victor. Calling after the fleeing vagabond, he warned "Come back here, mother fucker! I'm gonna kill you!".
He didn't sound like he was lying. He was all business. Not like some of those other people who strut and preen around Toronto issuing hollow death threats; this guy wasn't a poser like those losers.
My brother and his wife just so happened to be going into the Holiday Inn as well, and caught a brief exchange between the Inn Keeper and this wayward Son (we are, after all, God's children no matter how infrequently we're sober). They caught the conversation just as the Inn Keeper was saying, "We have no more room! No more! All the rooms are gone!"
Dejected by the news, this lost lamb tried to reason with the Inn Keeper.
"He's going to kill me! That guy out there is going to kill me! You have to let me stay here!"
The Inn Keeper toed what must be nearly a two thousand and four year old line familiar to anyone who doesn't celebrate the birth of Saint Nick, and repeated that there was no room at the inn. There wasn't even an offer of a stable.
"If he kills me, then I'm going to sue you!" seethed the man.
And just like Christ, this man would rise from the dead to perform that most American of miracles: the lawsuit.