Tag Archives: Lectionary

God’s Outrageous Promise

Genesis 18: 1–15

A Son Promised to Abraham and Sarah

The Lord appeared to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the entrance of his tent in the heat of the day. He looked up and saw three men standing near him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent entrance to meet them, and bowed down to the ground. He said, ‘My lord, if I find favour with you, do not pass by your servant. Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree. Let me bring a little bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on—since you have come to your servant.’ So they said, ‘Do as you have said.’ And Abraham hastened into the tent to Sarah, and said, ‘Make ready quickly three measures of choice flour, knead it, and make cakes.’ Abraham ran to the herd, and took a calf, tender and good, and gave it to the servant, who hastened to prepare it. Then he took curds and milk and the calf that he had prepared, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree while they ate.

They said to him, ‘Where is your wife Sarah?’ And he said, ‘There, in the tent.’ Then one said, ‘I will surely return to you in due season, and your wife Sarah shall have a son.’ And Sarah was listening at the tent entrance behind him. Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in age; it had ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, ‘After I have grown old, and my husband is old, shall I have pleasure?’ The Lord said to Abraham, ‘Why did Sarah laugh, and say, “Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?” Is anything too wonderful for the Lord? At the set time I will return to you, in due season, and Sarah shall have a son.’ But Sarah denied, saying, ‘I did not laugh’; for she was afraid. He said, ‘Oh yes, you did laugh.’

 

You turn up in the strangest of ways Lord.

As I sit
doing nothing really,
resting from the heat,
taking the air.

As strangers passing by
who I can’t help but invite in,
to offer respite from their journey,
shade from the heat,
an opportunity to wash,
refresh and feed.

And in them,
in that action
you speak to me.

God of presence
how will you appear to me?

Who are you bringing before me today?

Who are the strangers
who have so much to teach me,
to show me,
to point me to you,
to truth,
to hope?

Who are you asking me to entertain,
to feed,
to give rest?

Who are you calling me to tend,
to care for,
to refresh?

To listen to?

To receive from?

Who is bringing your word to me
that I might have missed
if I hadn’t invited them in?

How are you going to speak to me?

Please don’t play with me God
you know the pain I carry
deep within,
the feeling of failure,
of emptiness,
of letting this precious man down.

Don’t toy with my emotions
and allow me to hope.

My hope is gone,
my time is over,
what I believed was my purpose
has slipped by.

And yet
you turn up
and make an outrageous promise.

God of promise
who made such an outrageous promise to Sarah,
what promises are you making to me today?

What are you calling me to
that I can’t believe?

What are you asking me to trust you about?

What faith, trust, promise can I carry for you today?

I offer you what I have,
however I feel about it
and leave you
to do the rest.

Bless me
in the unexpected,
the outrageous,
in giving
and in receiving.

May I see you,
invite you in,
hear you
and join with you
on an outrageous journey of faith.

 

17th January

I’m not sure when I’m going to be able to post some of my lectionary based blogs again, so for the moment I will link to what I’ve previously written on this Sundays readings.  Hope that is some help.

Isaiah 62:1-5

God is Pleased With You

1 Corinthians 12:1-11

Using What You’ve Got

Have you Got the Missing Piece

John 2:1-11

Saving the Best

Sitting in Judgement

How does the idea of being judged make you feel?  To feel that someone is weighing you up against their standards and norms?  I’m not very good at it.  It makes me feel immediately defensive and as if I have to justify myself and my actions – usually wrongly.

On the other hand, how good I am at sitting in judgement on other people… Imagining I know why they do what they do, where they are coming from, comparing their actions with ‘what I would do’ – because of course I know best.  How foolish I am.

Of course I do what I do mainly because I believe it to be the right thing.  It fits in with my understanding of the world and myself.  But does it fit in with Gods?  If I look at my actions through his eyes, might they seem different, less satisfactory, not sharing his ideals?

God is probably the one person entitled to sit in judgement on us.  The one who holds the big picture, who understands our motives, who sees people trying to do their best – and those trying to make everything fit their way.  Where would I fit in that picture?  How does my behavior weigh up?  I might think I will be vindicated and shown to be right all along.  I wonder…

Amos 5:18-24 (CEV)

When the Lord Judges

18 You look forward to the day
when the Lord comes to judge.
    But you are in for trouble!
It won’t be a time of sunshine;
    all will be darkness.
19 You will run from a lion,
    only to meet a bear.
You will escape to your house,
rest your hand on the wall,
    and be bitten by a snake.
20 The day when the Lord judges
will be dark, very dark,
    without a ray of light.

What the Lord Demands

21 I, the Lord, hate and despise
your religious celebrations
    and your times of worship.
22 I won’t accept your offerings
or animal sacrifices—
    not even your very best.
23 No more of your noisy songs!
I won’t listen
    when you play your harps.
24 But let justice and fairness
flow like a river
    that never runs dry.

We don’t like to think of God sitting in judgement.  We want him to be a nice God, always on our side.  Yet if God is God, he has a Grand Plan, a right and wrong way for things to be done.  Not because he is high and mighty, but because he truly knows what is best for us, loves us and cares for us; and longs for us to have the best.

So, God is not looking for us to say all the right things, but to actually do them; not to just put on a good front, but truly aim to live his ways; not to make a lot of noise, but to live those things out.  God looks, not at the show we put on, but the reality of our lives lived day by day.

They are the only criteria anyone should be judged by.  And the judging is not ours, but Gods.

Forgive me Lord,
the times I am quick to sit in judgement,
believing I know what is best,
or what is in the heart of another.
Forgive my arrogance,
my short-sightedness,
my focus on me.

Forgive me Lord,
when I have got things so wrong,
yet believed I was so right.
When I have missed the point,
not understood
or failed to ask.
When I have been so focussed
on what I thought,
that I have failed to hear your voice
or ignored it
and gone my own way.

Thank you
that you are a God of forgiveness,
of hope,
of renewal,
and of new possibilities.

I offer myself anew to you today.
Help me to hear your voice clearly
and respond to all you ask of me.