Tuesday, 9 February 2016
Family matters - an unhappy story of human will versus God’s will. The talk by Geoff unpicks some of the implications and consequences of this unfolding story of Hagar and Ishmael. It looks at the part that God’s mercy had to play over the mistakes of Abram and Sarai. Their attempts at completing God’s will by their own intuition and cunning that had bitter fruit., then and now. God overrules where we have gone wrong. His kind intervention and blessing extends over our errors of judgement and wilful mistakes. Yet beyond this in Jesus we are not doomed to remake the mistakes of the past which we have learned and been shaped by but are destined to a better future based on freedom and hope in God’s promises and friendship.
Notes will usually be available on the downloads section of the website
Thursday, 4 February 2016
Pilgrims on the journey. Genesis 15. Covenant relationship on the pilgrimage. Pilgrimage is more than a metaphor – it is a way of life. After rescuing Lot Abram had a vision and heard the LORD speaking. Pilgrimage is all to do with hearing the LORD. As a result of this we are told that Abram put his trust in the LORD and was accepted by God. This first Abrahamic Covenant is made before even the sign of circumcision or the giving of the Law to Moses. It is about trust/ faith and acceptance. We are told that Abram was afraid and that following the vision he sought reassurance about the promise that had been given. Learning to trust God is also part of our pilgrimage together. The faith of Abram took hundreds of years to be fulfilled. A Covenant between the LORD and Abram is being developed and is vividly and symbolically demonstrated as well as spoken so that Abram remembers. We too take part in Covenant making in Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
Pilgrims on the journey. Genesis 13. Pilgrimage and Separation. This journey is all about tents and altars: journeying and encountering God in discovery and a growing intimacy. The call and the promise Abram received required him to leave behind certain things and also various relationships. Pilgrimage requires separation for certain things in exchange for a growing intimacy with God. This separation may be physical but also psychological. The account of why and how Abram and Lot separated is examined. Lot made his choices on the basis of what he saw and wanted and Abram on the basis of looking and listening to God’s promise and walking in obedience. Jesus redefined his family as those who hear the will of God and obey it. Luke 8: 19 – 21.
Pilgrims on the journey. Genesis 11: 31 – 12: 9. The call to journey. The journey back to finding home with God. God calls the legendary Abram and Sarai out of their country and family to seek a land that he would show and to make of them a new pilgrim people. How fare did Abram travel physically and theologically in his understanding of God and himself? The call was from a life dominated by idol worship – moon gods to a discovery of calling upon the name of the LORD. It is a story of leaving behind all that Abram knew and is accustomed to. It is a story of disentangling himself from all that bound him. The call to forsake all at the call of God and move in obedience to a place of God’s choosing is paralleled in the Gospel accounts of Jesus.