I slept in till 8.22 today! Got up, and for some reason, checked the rota for today’s 9.30 am communion, only to see that it was me today! Of course, it’s the 1st July, and my sabbatical is officially over.
Hagar and the Angel by Cecco Bravo
Fortunately, today’s Bible readings for communion were a gift to someone who’s been thinking about conflict and peace building for two months. The Old Testament reading was all about Hagar, the slave woman who bore a child to Abraham.
In today’s reading, Abraham’s wife Sarah asks Abraham to banish Hagar and Ishmael, so that Ishmael will not have a share in Sarah’s son Isaac’s inheritance. (Genesis 21). Abraham consents to this and Hagar is banished to the wilderness with her child Ishmael. In the wilderness, it looks as thought they will both die, and Hagar moves ‘a good way away’ from Ishmael so that she will not see him die. They cry to God for help, and In reply God sends an angel who shows them a well, and they survive. The significance of this story for today is profound – As Jews look to Sarah’s son Isaac as their ancestor, and Arabs look to Hagar’s son Ishmael as their ancestor.
The story reminded me of the ‘Come to the Table’ project (see earlier blog entry) in which the descendants of slaves, and the descendants of slave owners meet together to share their stories, their pain, and the unmet needs that still exist today.
Would that the descendants of Hagar, and the descendants of Sarah would also come to the table and find peace and reconciliation.