Sunday, June 22, 2008

June 22, 2008 (Veronica Dyck)

Veronica Dyck spoke on Hagar’s story from Genesis and noted the many parallels between Hagar’s and Ishmael’s story, and that of marginalized people through history the nation of Israel’s. Indeed many other groups even today, such as black people, or women; indeed any group that has been marginalized sees parallels in this story of denying justice, and human compassion. The practice of a woman giving one of her servant girls to her husband by whom to have children was not uncommon, but the dynamics of this story are complex, and the text offers us few clues except that although Hagar was given to Abram as wife, Abram was never Hagar’s husband. Was Hagar excessively proud of her accomplishment over Sarai? Was Sarai’s response to outrage appropriate? The significance of Hagar’s meeting with God out in the desert (the first such in the Bible between God and human) cannot underestimated, yet Hagar’s imperfection is obvious in the face of God’s blessing and safekeeping. Her refusal to obey does not disqualify her, however, nor her child, from inheritance. When the prospect of revenge is offered for her abandonment in the desert, only then does Hagar turn and follow God’s path. Nevertheless, Hagar’s return and service to Sarai until Sarai’s own son Isaac is born more than a decade later is fraught with complications. What is the significance of the long delays between Ishmael’s and Isaac’s birth? What occurred in this time? Hagar was driven into the desert again, but this raises more questions than it answers; yet there is no question that God blesses Ishmael, and through him, Hagar once again. Veronica noted several possibilities of blessing and future that commentators have raised about the text, and how Abraham, despite acting so abominably, goes on to receive God’s blessing as well. The parallels of this story and that of Moses and Israel are striking, and Veronica outlined some of those for us too. Veronica’s stories of possibility described for us much more fully how imperfect are the tools that God uses to achieve His ends, and how God’s Exodus theme of intervention to save his people, whoever they may be, is an ongoing event that carries on until today. [AP] Listen to the sermon audio MP3 recording from Sunday June 22nd, 2008 using your browser's preferred media player.



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