Daily Office Readings for Tuesday of the 3rd Week of Easter: Year 2
“Do not presume to say to yourselves, “We have Abraham as our ancestor”; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham.” (Matthew 3:9)
Abraham is a very significant Father of Faith for Jews, Christians and Muslims. But what is significant about Abraham is not his genetic code, his biology, his DNA. No, what is important about Abraham is his faith. He believed in God, and for his faith, “it was reckoned to him as righteousness, and he was called the friend of God.” (James 2:23)
The significance of Abraham is not something genetic that is passed on to the next generation, not even to Isaac or Jacob. They, like Abraham had to meet God for themselves and be tested by life. So none of us, not Jew, not Christian, not Muslim, can claim a direct biological heritage from Abraham as for as God is concerned. And, even if someone did show close DNA to a people supposed to be of Abrahamic lineage, it matters not. It is not the biology that matters; it is the faith of Abraham that matters. So, like John the Baptist says, “God can raise children to Abraham from the stones of the earth.”
It makes no difference who we are, we can choose to be children to Abraham, not by investigating our ancestry, but only by believing. To be raised as children to Abraham we must choose to believe and hold God more dear to us than our own children as did Abraham himself. As I have said before, I now say again, “Trust” especially in God, is a better translation of the word used for “believe.” Trust God more than family, more than government, more than so called authority figures, more than human professions like many doctors and lawyers and even some clergy. The only exception I will make to this are doctors and lawyers and clergy who pray. Faith means everything.
Because our faith and trust in God means more than biology, we, you and I, as people of faith are connected to the people of Ukraine more than we know. The Ukrainian people are our faith brothers and sisters through the faith lineage of Abraham. We, Episcopalians, have a prayer that best sums it up. Let us pray: “O God, whose wonderful deeds of old shine forth even to our own day, you once delivered by the power of your mighty arm your chosen people from slavery under Pharaoh, to be a sign for us of the salvation of all nations by the water of Baptism: Grant that all the peoples of the earth may be numbered among the offspring of Abraham, and rejoice in the inheritance of Israel; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.” (BCP 289)
Let us be still and listen to what the Holy Spirit of God is saying to us, and:
As we listen to what the Spirit is saying to us, let us live to love, to serve, and to teach, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John