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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Scripture Reading: Genesis 18:1–15
The Lord appeared to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the entrance of his tent in the heat of the day. He looked up and saw three men standing near him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent entrance to meet them, and bowed down to the ground. He said, “My lord, if I find favor with you, do not pass by your servant. Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree. Let me bring a little bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on —since you have come to your servant.” So they said, “Do as you have said.” And Abraham hastened into the tent to Sarah, and said, “Make ready quickly three measures of choice flour, knead it, and make cakes.” Abraham ran to the herd, and took a calf, tender and good, and gave it to the servant, who hastened to prepare it. Then he took curds and milk and the calf that he had prepared, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree while they ate.

They said to him, “Where is your wife Sarah?” And he said, “There, in the tent.” Then one said, “I will surely return to you in due season, and your wife Sarah shall have a son.” And Sarah was listening at the tent entrance behind him. Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in age; it had ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “After I have grown old, and my husband is old, shall I have pleasure?” The Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh, and say, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?’ Is anything too wonderful for the Lord? At the set time I will return to you, in due season, and Sarah shall have a son.” But Sarah denied, saying, “I did not laugh”; for she was afraid. He said, “Oh yes, you did laugh.” (NRSV)

What’s your approach when reading scripture? Maybe you’re someone who’s looking for the ingredients that make up a good life, much like a recipe for good barbecue or a winter soup (please send them along!), or looking for the meaning of life and a code to live by. Or perhaps you approach with skepticism, having been misled by hurtful interpretations in your past, or maybe you just feel uncomfortable with scripture and sometimes disconnected from it in our current culture.

I don’t want to tell you whether your approach is valid or good, but rather, I want to challenge you to just “sit with” the scripture during this season of Lent. Bring all of you to it—yes, your doubts, questions, anger, pain, hopes, dreams, desires, confusion. Then sit and let it “read” you. 

I sat with this passage, and I felt distant from it, critical even, unengaged. I returned to read it again; having let go of my reading of it, I let it “read” me. 

I was drawn in by just how ordinary of a situation it is: Abraham at the tent’s entrance; it’s hot out; and he’s near some trees, but then “the Lord appeared.” That changes everything. In my heart, I want the Lord to appear—in the midst of injustice, in the midst of a gun-filled city, and in the midst of depression and isolation. In my own life, when I am feeling heavy, confused, or hurt, Lord appear!

As you sit with scripture in this season of Lent and let it read you, my prayer is that the Lord appear to you.

Appear to us, O Lord, and let us be read by your scripture, that we might be shown even the secrets of our hearts, our greatest sorrows and our greatest joys. Amen.

Written by Edwin Estevez, Pastoral Resident

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