In Response to
a reflection on God’s Promise given to Sarai and Abraham: descendants, and their new God-given names:
1. What does this encounter-renaming-promise-of-blessing have to do with us today, in a pandemic wherein so many people are Querdenkers (reality deniers – eg ‘I’m done with this Covid!’) in order to get by, or are sinking, sinking into despair, addiction, abuse, cruelty, or being overwhelmed as the demands to be creative cannot be even begun with.
2. It is said in various and many ways ‘old age is a dry or fruitless time of life.’ Can those in this time of life at all agree: yes physically and mentally ‘little deaths’ rear their ugly heads and steal bits of us from us*DOCH Is this not the most fruitful time of life when the wisdom that one has discovered as a teen and onward start to be proven as wisdom indeed? Is this not the time of life when the penultimate things (and the even less important things) of life recede into the background and the ultimate takes not only front and centre stage, but inspires one to see how God is present (as sacramental as ever) in the mundane and simple … the ordinarily super-beautiful small things**
* – Let’s not talk about the GERDS or sciatica that disturb my rest! or the looming cancer – So I can no longer sit to read and write, doch now I can stand at a new (creatively crafted from coffee cans and plywood) makeshift desk to type and read.
** Quickly given examples: pine cones shredded by a squirrel scattered beneath a tree – evidence that in the -35⁰ temperatures God provides also for these little creatures, or the sunsets and sunrises that shower specular light everywhere transforming the dull into the means of Grace (on par with God sanctifying sinners with God’s most marvellous glory), or the northern lights of greens and purples dancing across the cold sky of infinite stars sending light from millions of years ago?
3. Is the so ordinary, familiar Lenten reflection provided on Abram and Sarai’s encounter with God, the advanced years of both, the promise of children numerous, the laughter … is this a reflection that while this time may seem so unique and demanding for us, for God it is ordinary, already many times having occurred, and it can be taken by us simply ‘in the flow’ of God’s promises and presence.
Which reminds me of the story of the rabbi who refused to join the council of the synagogue. Pressed he relented (seasonally appropriate) and agreed he would join, but he would attend only when there was something new to deal with. Something ‘new’ arises, they seek his attendance, he points out that this ‘new’ thing is addressed in the writings of this or that revered rabbi. Another ‘new’ thing arises … and it repeats many times. Each time the rabbi shows that the ‘new’ thing is rather ‘old’. The rabbi is not required ever to attend council.
— Doch, God does do new things with us, as Abram and Sarai are given new names (new essence, new identity by God) as Abraham and Sarah.
God does wonderfully new things in order that we will recognize who we are, who God is, and God’s enduring attitude of Grace toward us and all creation. It is the same old, old story of Jesus and his love.
Which is always new when it is shared as Grace and hope in love.