Saturday, October 6, 2018

Go to a New Place

Tomorrow’s lectionary reading from the Hebrew Scriptures is Genesis 12:1-7. This passage transitions from the account of the fall and its effects to the story of God’s redemptive plan for His creation, beginning with the call of Abram. You know the story-God tells Abram to pack up his stuff and go to a new place. Abram, seventy-five at the time, does just that, taking his wife Sarai and his nephew Lot. God’s original promise to Abram, seen here, is that Abram will be blessed and bring a blessing (or curse, depending on one’s point of view) to nations. The text allows for two readings: “In you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” or “by you all the families of the earth shall bless themselves” (12:3b). 
It is a well-known story and there is, as far as I know, little doubt among people of faith that it actually occurred and so one would think there isn’t much left to say about it. However, if we consider it from a metaphorical or symbolic point of view it becomes a nice little picture of what God does to and for believers (that would be us). If we insert ourselves into the story and give it a slight update it comes to life on a new, personal way. Let me show you. 
Imagine for a moment it’s the middle of the night; you woke up unexpectedly and now can’t get back to sleep. Suddenly God speaks to you. “Hey”. 
“I have something in mind for you”. 
’’I’m going to bless you.”
 “Oh, cool.” 
“But I’m not just going to bless you. When Im finished with you you will be a blessing; you will bring a blessing with you everywhere you go. People will look at you and say ‘wow, I wish I were blessed like that’”. 
“Great! When do we get started?”  
“There’s something I need you to do first.”
“Ok, what’s the catch?”
“You have to forget everything you think you know about me.”
“Seriously. Forget everything you think you know. We’re going to start all over.”
“Un-huh. I’m not so sure about all this.”
“Don’t worry. I have it covered.”
“Well, I wrote a book. We’ll read it together. When we’re finished you’ll be a totally new person.”
“I think I’ve done that...”
“Not like this. Not with me. You will read and listen and I will show you new stuff, stuff you won’t believe.”
“When do we start?”
  My first point here is the importance of reading the Bible as if for the first time and letting God speak to you, personally. Different religious traditions have different descriptive phrases for this practice but the point is to read and listen. My second point is blessings are meant to be contagious, and we never know who might catch one from us. 


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