Submitted by Visitor (not verified) on Mon, 07/12/2009 – 13:04
Bible Book: Genesis
When the congregation listens to Gen 12:1-4 on the second Sunday of Lent, keep in mind that they have discussed Gen 2 and 3 on the previous Sunday. What started out as a tragic story in Gen 2, reaches a low when the people plan to make a name for themselves (11:4) by “climbing up to God”. But it is God who comes down (11:5) to see what the people are doing and then scatters them “over all the earth” (11:8).
One group of these “scattered people” (with which the story continues) is the family of Terah that sets out from Ur. This journey, however, appears to be without any prospects, because Terah’s son Abram discovers after years of waiting that his wife is barren (11:30). There is no sense in looking for a future if there is no prospect of a future (read descendants). So they decide to stay in Haran.
(Genesis 11:30 – “Now Sarai was barren; she had no children” – can be read as a direct reference to the prospect-less (hope-less) position in which Abram and Sarai find themselves. )
One concept that plays an important role in the context of HIV and aids, is (the absence or presence of) hope. If you take a good look at the statistics of HIV and aids, you will feel a dark cloud or hopelessness descend upon you. Listen to people who tell you what it means to discover that they are HIV positive and you’ll hear how these news have stolen their hope. Or talk to somebody who has been living with HIV for years and you will discover that it is often a struggle to keep hope alive.
Whoever reads the story of Gen 11:27-12:9 from a prospect-less situation (or with a longing for hope), will find hope here. In 12:1 God is talking to a human. This is the turning point of the story. The prospect-less, hope-less situation of Abram is changed when God talks to him. He calls Abram. And when God talks to Abram, it means blessing, blessing, blessing! (In the original the word “blessing” and inflexions of it appear five times in 12:2-3.)
The God of Abraham opens up a new road for this man and woman who thought that their lives had come to a dead end. This new road opens before them when Abram receives the assurance that God means well with him and his wife and that God also means well with all his people.
For those who have come to the end of the road – and there are numerous examples of such people, specifically people who have been struck down by the knowledge that they are HIV positive – the word of God can mean the difference between despair and hope: My intentions with you are good, so join me on the road to the future that I want to create for you.
On the second Sunday of Lent we are given the assurance that the cross and resurrection of Christ open up the future for us.
Author: N du Toit (Ds)