Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Genesis 12:1-9

Pentecost +4 – Year A

Genesis 12:1-9

Jesus called and was called. Abram and Sari and Lot and others were called and call.

Call is closely allied to blessing. Blessing is where a call is intended to lead. Blessings are available to and through the one(s) called.

In fact call and blessing are so strong that they often overshoot the mark. We catch a glimpse of the extra energy that comes from call and blessing when Abram and the lot make it to the land of Canaan, have it acknowledged that this is the place that was the goal, and then find themselves unable to stop the journey, the call, the blessing and moved on from there to east of Bethel and then south to the Negev.

One could always argue that these subsequently named places are all part of some "promised land" and Abram was but staking out various part of it. But if we read but one more verse we find Abram all the way into Egypt. There is a sense of bait and switch here with Abram seemingly promised good things to come and ending up in a famine that pushes him on beyond Canaan. Promises delayed is going to be theme for awhile (still).

You may want to track this in your own life of calls and blessings overshot and delayed. While we usually focus in on just the pericope at hand, in this instance it is helpful to go the extra mile and read a bit beyond the appointed stopping place.

A later reflection on the "overshoot" phenomena suggests that call and blessing can easily be sidetracked through a mechanism of pride. It appears that call and blessing do not live easily with humility. A struggle, rather than cooperation, between these gifts can delay each of their benefits, both for self and others.

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