Tuesday of Lent 2 – Genesis 12:1-9

Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

So Abram went, as the Lord had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people that they had acquired in Haran, and they set out to go to the land of Canaan. When they came to the land of Canaan, Abram passed through the land to the place at Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built there an altar to the Lord, who had appeared to him. From there he moved to the hill country on the east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. And there he built an altar to the Lord and called upon the name of the Lord. And Abram journeyed on, still going toward the Negeb.

“I just had to do something,” she said. My friend had witnessed a terrible scene in which a man had publicly abused his wife. We were dealing with the aftermath of her “doing something.” In this case it had been aggressively standing up for this abused woman and calling the fellow on the carpet for his cruel words. Bullies can be hard to dissuade and often do not take kindly to people pointing out their misbehavior, especially when it is directed toward a spouse. It had not gotten violent, but anger was simmering just under the surface of conversations.

God called Abraham to action. He was to pick up his home, family, belongings, everything, and move to a land which God would show him. I have often wondered what that call looked like. I rather doubt it was a disembodied voice speaking from a cloud. God can do that, but He does not often do that. Usually, it is far more mundane and frequently a little ambiguous. Did a man or woman confront Abram and tell him to go? Was it a crisis in Haran? Did he get a letter from someone there who needed him?

My friend was called to act on behalf of a poor woman that day. She heeded that call and acted. How does God call you today? Does He confront you with suffering or violence to move out of your complacency to help someone? That is what happened to my former parishioner who confronted the abusive man. She had to do something; it was a call. Has he planted within you a compassionate response to someone else’s need? Has he opened your eyes to see an opportunity for the kingdom to come or God’s will to be done in some way. God is in the calling business, not the forcing business, at least not yet. That day of judgement and power does come. Until then He calls us. How does He call you today? 

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