Proper 8, Year A, Old Testament Lesson
Scripture: Genesis 22:1-14
There are many difficult stories in the Bible that are the stories of the relationship with God and a growing self understanding as God’s people. And we read this one with the perception and understanding of the faithful who remembered and told the story throughout the ages. These Biblical truths are not unlike the hard lessons we sometimes learn in fables or morality plays: Life is not always fair. Things are not always easy – even when we do what is right – and God can seem like a hard taskmaster or judge. And what the writers of Genesis saw as God’s testing of Abraham is not easy to digest. Adults can often use metaphor to see the lesson for us. For children this is harder. Be sensitive to these issues and shape the lesson for your own context.
The Book of Genesis provides foundational stories of our faith, God’s calling of a people, their often-failed responses to God, and God’s steadfast love throughout. The Abraham saga tells of the formation of Israel, beginning with the faithfulness of its patriarch Abraham. Although disillusioned with the wickedness of human beings, God separates out one family line to bring divine blessing to all subsequent families of the world. Abraham, the model of absolute faithfulness, trust and obedience, is symbolic of Israel’s idealized self. At the request of God Abraham has left his homeland to travel to a promised land. He has entertained angels unaware and trusted God’s promise of an heir even at an advanced age.