Sickness hit my house like a sledgehammer this week. There was one 24 hour period where my husband slept for almost 20 hours straight. Not exactly the “stepping back” or reflective time I had planned for this second week of Lent. I had a bit of a different image in my head when I read “Then Abram fell on his face…”
This Genesis text (17:1-7, 15-16) continues to tell a story of God making promises to God’s people. I think of promises I have made – the small ones and the big ones… I struggle with the lifelong illness of lateness – to the point where friends will tell me to be somewhere 1/2 an hour before I need to be. So when something really important is coming up, occasionally I make a specific promise to be there on time! (Can’t wait til I have kids to throw into the fun…) There are those times where the promises are bigger though – when they build upon the foundation of relationships we have had for years. Promises that seem to go beyond the word promise into something bigger.
In the story today, we call the promises God makes to Abram and Sarai a covenant. In our world today so many of our interactions with others are simply transactional. We deal with people to give and get what both of us need. While that is an aspect of life – sometimes I wonder what would my life be like if I made more of an effort to be in relationship with some of those I simple transact with? If I made more of an effort to be in relationship – covenantal relationship with God?
God enters into a deep relationship with Abram and Sarai today – a covenant relationship. We saw signs of God’s covenant last week in the story of the rainbow after the flood. This week we see God claiming this family as God’s own and changing their names to mark their identity. There are expectations both ways – like there are in any relationship. Expectations based on mutual love and trust.
I wonder – especially on those days where life (or the flu) has knocked us down how do we find hope in the promises – the covenantal relationship we have with God?
I wonder – when those promises seem unbelievable (like a baby when your in your 90’s…) how do we hold onto our faith without blindly following? How can we go to God and to our community with our doubts?
I wonder how I can see the love and blessings from God in my life while also seeing the privileges I carry in this society. I pray that I do not attribute all of my advantages to God’s blessing and my hard work, while I look upon my neighbors who struggle for daily food, livable wages, affordable health care, and adequate education.
Oh God of holy communion, it is you who has set in motion this amazing world we know. It is you, the Three-in-One who models how to be in true community with one another. I thank you for your desire to be in covenant with us – to be in a relationship with us. Your patience is the stuff of legends oh Lord. Help us to hear the stories of your people kept in the holy scriptures. Send us your Spirit to guide our steps as we engage one another not only for what we need, oh Lord, but simply because we are all yours and we are all worthy. In the name of Christ Jesus we pray, Amen.