Bible Readings for today

These passages are set down for this Sunday.  Read these in your own bible at home or follow the link for words online.

Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16  (read online - NRSV)

Romans 4:13-25  (read online - NRSV)

Reflection on today's readings

by Bruce Epperly, in the Adventurous Lectionary for the 2nd Sunday in Lent, entitled “Living a Holy Adventure’.

What is the nature of God’s relationship with the world? Is God aloof and unchanging? Is God domineering, acting unilaterally and robbing creation of agency? Or, is God’s relationship relational and loving, promoting maximal freedom and creativity in the created world? While God initiates the covenant with humankind, the covenant involves an ongoing call and response in which God calls, humans respond, and humankind’s response shapes God future calls. Today’s readings speak of a divine-human reciprocity in which God changes in relationship to humankind. There is no divine determinism or predestination here but the challenging world of call and response.

The relationship between God, Abraham and Sarah gives birth to an everlasting covenant with humankind! God enters into a covenant forged with Abraham and Sarah, and then us. Most contracts have time limits but God’s covenant is everlasting and invites us to share in God’s eternity in the midst of an ever-changing world.

For Abraham and Sarah, the covenant is about biological or family immortality. Psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton suggests that there are several types of immortality, each of which enables us to face the transitory nature of life with confidence and courage: biological, creative, naturalistic, mystical, and religious/chronological. Our lives live on either in our children’s lives or as part of a larger life story in this life or the next. In the reading from Genesis, Abraham is promised biological immortality. Childless Abraham and Sarah are told that they will become the parents of a great nation. They will live on biologically in their children and children’s children. Their faithfulness also lives on in the impact of their decisions on the future of the race. Abraham and Sarah are the parents of the children of Israel, but we must add the other Abrahamic faith traditions as well to their lineage. Like children in a family, the Abrahamic faiths (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) have their own unique perspectives and developmental maturity, but above all they are siblings, intended to live in harmony and share in God’s dream of Shalom for all people.

Hymn - Faith will not grow from words alone

Faith will not grow from words alone,
from proofs provided, scripture known;
our faith must feel its way about,
and live with question-marks and doubt.

The pattern Jesus showed, we share:
life comes through death, hope through despair.
God is made known in brokenness,
and faith feeds on God's emptiness.

The church still tells how Jesus came
through death to glorious life again —
the strangest story! Yet, maybe,
our faith will thrive on mystery.

Faith takes the little that we know,
and calls for hope, and tells us: Go!
Love and take courage, come what may;
Christ will be with us on the way.

(Organ plays a short introduction before the first verse)

Words: Elizabeth J. Smith

Tune "Dunedin": Vernon Griffiths