“The Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, ‘Lift up your eyes, and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward; for all the land which you see I will give to you and to your descendants for ever. I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if one can count the dust of the earth, your descendants also can be counted. Arise, walk through the length and the breadth of the land, for I will give it to you.’ So Abram moved his tent, and came and dwelt by the oaks of Mamre, which are at Hebron; and there he built an altar to the Lord.” (Gen 13: 14-18)
This is our Church’s reading from Genesis at Vespers today, on Monday of the fifth week of Lent, in 2018. That fact alone is mind-blowing, indicating to me that the reading about the promises God made to Abraham (still called “Abram” at this point) several millennia ago about his “descendants” are somehow relevant to us today. And indeed, whenever we choose to share the faith of Abraham, in the God of Abraham, we are “descendants” of Abraham by God’s grace, regardless of whether our parents are Jewish, Greek, Serbian, German, or whatever, – or even if we originated from mere stones, as John the Baptist says to the Pharisees and Sadducees: “And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham.” (Mt 3: 9)
This morning, as we begin the fifth week of Lent, (and others of us – the sixth week), I gratefully choose to be part of, rather than apart from, the long line of “descendants of Abraham.” I let God make “from this stone” that is my heart, when it’s blocking Him out, a loving and beloved child of the countless faithful witnesses to Him, both from yesterday and today. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with patience the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” (Hebr 12: 1-2a) Amen!