This past Sunday at Mount Hebron Presbyterian church we celebrated our Scottish heritage. A sermon, reflecting on the life of great Scotsman Alexander Cruden's, can be found here.
Over the summer months, during our times of worship, I'll be taking a look at the lives of some of the Old Testament characters often called “The Patriarchs.” I'm thinking of characters like Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I won't be focusing just on their lives, but also how their decisions affected the people around them, such as Sarah and Hagar, Leah and Rachel.
Those Old Testament stories could give a modern soap opera a run for their money. Family disputes. Betrayals. Unfaithfulness. Startling discoveries and recoveries. It's all the stuff great drama is made of!
This Sunday we'll be reading Genesis 21:8-21, and seeing how the decisions of Abraham had unexpected consequences for those who were closest to him. You maybe recall how Abraham, impatient at his wife Sarah's inability to bear a child, instead takes Hagar as a surrogate mother and Ishmael is born.
All is well... until Sarah does have a child... and then an unholy row erupts between Sarah and Hagar. Hagar and Ishmael end up being sent away to an uncertain future in the desert. Amazingly... God abandons neither Abraham and Sarah, or Hagar and Ismael, and both are promised a future, just as long as they keep trusting in God.
Of course … it's that “Trusting in God” that is the hard part. It is Abraham's NOT trusting in God, and thinking he could do better taking things into his own hands, that causes a lot of the trouble in the first place.
All of which reminds us that “Trusting in God” is never the easiest, or even the most obvious course of action that springs to our minds, whenever we think about where our lives may be heading. It is easy to dismiss the simple truth that God knows better than we do how our lives should be lived.
Through reading God's Word, through prayer, and through opening our hearts to God, in times of both private and corporate worship, we allow God's love and God's guidance to percolate into our hearts and lives.
As a coffee lover, I use that word “percolate” quite deliberately! The dictionary definition is that “to percolate” means to to “become active, lively, or spirited, to show activity, movement, or life; to grow or spread gradually; to germinate.” Such well describes the action of God's Holy Spirit upon our lives when we take the time to open them to God's influence.
It is that influence that offers the ability to trust in God. It is a gift to be received and a grace to be accepted. My hope is that, as we take a look at some of the great characters of the Old Testament, we discover truths we can apply to our own lives. Who knows? A little “Patriarchal Percolating” might turn out to be just the pick-up we all need for the living of these days.
For a musical reflection, grab a cup of coffee (or other beverage of your choice) and reflect on Lauren Daigle singing “Trust In You.”
The Reverend Adrian J. Pratt B.D.