Monday, March 2, 2009
Day Six- March 2
When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said to him, ‘I am God Almighty;* walk before me, and be blameless. And I will make my covenant between me and you, and will make you exceedingly numerous.’ Then Abram fell on his face; and God said to him, ‘As for me, this is my covenant with you: You shall be the ancestor of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be Abram,* but your name shall be Abraham;* for I have made you the ancestor of a multitude of nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. I will establish my covenant between me and you, and your offspring after you throughout their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring* after you.
God said to Abraham, ‘As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. I will bless her, and moreover I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall give rise to nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.’
Last week's text from Genesis offered us the covenant between God and humanity given to Noah. This week, it's covenant time again, this time with Abram, renamed Abraham (which may be read to mean ancestor of a multitude) and Sarai, renamed Sarah. You can find a different account of this same story in Genesis 15. Many scholars believe that these two different accounts highlight different historical perspectives and different attributes of God.
Covenants are about relationships. God's sign of faithfulness to humanity was the rainbow. Now the sign of the covenant between the God's special people (Israel) and God is circumcision (verses 9-14). For Christians, the sign of a believer's covenant is the cross, made at baptism, and part of our identity as we consider Christ's life and death in light of the cross, and our Easter faith that recasts the cross in a whole new light.
Here, at the beginning of Lent, we have a wonderful chance to consider promises made at the beginning of the relationship between God and Abraham and Sarah. Even the most faithful laugh at the promise offered them. Imagine how startling this news must have been to Abraham and Sarah and that it took years for them to live int those promises and see the promises of God fulfilled. What is challenging about living out your faith? Are there ways in which you see your life of faith as an adventure? Abraham and Sarah surely must have!
Living God, as Abraham and Sarah lived in faith, their relationship with you changed and grew and deepened...over decades. Allow us to be patient in understanding our relationship with you, and help us to see you, and our relationship with you as vital and living. Amen.
Abraham and Sarah- Marc Chagall