April 7, 2022
Thursday of the Fifth Week of Lent
Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, Yahweh is very clear with Abram that he is now in a life-changing situation:
My covenant with you is this:Genesis 17: 3-4
you are to become the father of a host of nations.
No longer shall you be called Abram;
your name shall be Abraham,
for I am making you the father of a host of nations.
Having witnessed how young fathers are upended by the news of impending fatherhood, I can’t even imagine what Abraham felt like when he heard this:
I will render you exceedingly fertile;
I will make nations of you;
kings shall stem from you.
But aside from the practical ramifications of God’s promise, what Abraham is invited to is a whole new outlook on the world. God lays out before him a vision of the ages, infinitely beyond the confines of Abraham’s current understanding.
It is an existence beyond time and human definition. It is the infinite place of God’s timelessness, where we all exist, but forget when we are born. Our lifetime is a spiritual journey back to remembrance.
In our Gospel, Jesus uses a rather cryptic phrase as he challenges his listeners to look beyond their circumscribed perspectives:
Amen, amen, I say to you,John 8:51
whoever keeps my word will never see death….
Abraham your father rejoiced to see my day;
he saw it and was glad.
By fully embracing his covenant with God, Abraham saw beyond death. The vision of heaven was opened to him and he lived his life by its power. He lived then within the Day of the Lord, not within any small confined perspective.
Jesus offers us the same invitation. We can choose to see with God’s eyes, or with only our own. We can choose to live within God’s infinity, or in only our own earthbound borders.
In our current global situation, where some humans have lost the sense of anything beyond themselves, it may be a good time to remember the eternal character of our heart. It may be time to have a sit-down with God about our covenant, like the conversation God had with Abraham.
Poetry: The Unwavering Nomad – Jessica Powers
I love Abraham, that old weather-beaten
unwavering nomad; when God called to him
no tender hand wedged time into his stay.
His faith erupted him into a way
far-off and strange. How many miles are there
from Ur to Haran? Where does Canaan lie,
or slow mysterious Egypt sit and wait?
How could he think his ancient thigh would bear
nations, or how consent that Isaac die,
with never an outcry nor an anguished prayer?
I think, alas, how I manipulate
dates and decisions, pull apart the dark
dally with doubts here and with counsel there,
take out old maps and stare.
Was there a call after all, my fears remark.
I cry out: Abraham, old nomad you,
are you my father? Come to me in pity.
Mine is a far and lonely journey, too.
Music: In the Day of the Lord – M.D. Ridge
In the day of the Lord, the sun will shine
like the dawn of eternal day.
All creation will rise to dance and sing
the glory of the Lord!
“And on that day will justice triumph,
on that day will all be free:
free from want, free from fear, free to live! Refrain
Then shall the nations throng together
to the mountain of the Lord:
they shall walk in the light of the Lord! Refrain
And they shall beat their swords to plowshares;
there will be an end to war:
one in peace, one in love, one in God! Refrain
For Israel shall be delivered,
and the desert lands will bloom.
Say to all, “Do not fear. Here is your God!” Refrain
And on that day of Christ in glory,
God will wipe away our tears,
and the dead shall rise up from their graves! Refrain
O give us eyes to see your glory,
give us hearts to understand.
Let our ears hear your voice ’til you come! Refrain