We moved further from Ash Wednesday, when we marked foreheads and hands with ashes. This helps us remember that we are dust and to dust we shall return. Meanwhile, we live now. Now is a good time to dust off the scripture and read it in today's context.
Genesis 17:1 "When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram..."
Romans 4:18a "Hoping against hope..."
Paul calls it "hope against hope." The writer of Abram's story in Genesis just plugs in that number—99 years old—and we get it! God is making the impossible possible, blessing Abram and Sarai, creating a son ex nihilo (out of nothing), and then from them, promiing "fruitful" offspring, "many" nations. From 2 comes many!
The Lenten balm we need today is hope against hope.
Jan Richardson explores this hope and writes:
"I have been contemplating these texts in a week that has held horrifying violence here in Florida, yet another occurrence in the seemingly unending cycles of violence spiraling through our world. In the midst of this, I have found myself thinking of a poem by Rumi, where he says,
There is a secret medicine
given only to those who hurt so hard
they can't hope.
The hopers would feel slighted if they knew."
I know Richardson for her art and poems. Now, she paints hope into reflection words and shows her own searching.
What hope-theme poems (or lyrics) come to mind for you today? "Hope is a thing with wings?" "Blessed Assurance, Jesus is mine?" "Like a Bridge over troubled waters?" Write it down. Tuck it in your pocket and read it over and over as your prayer.
First United Church of Christ
34 West Main Street
Milford, CT 06460
All are welcome at First Church! As an inclusive community of God's children, we affirm the radical welcome and hospitality of the United Church of Christ; No matter who you are, or where you are on life's journey, you are welcome here!
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