The Dark Night of Abram’s Soul
I am told the words, Do not be afraid, appear some 365 times in the Bible (R.Rohr). That is one reminder for each and everyday of the year, except when we have a leap year...so one day this year, this month in fact, you can fear. The rest of the days, do not be afraid!!
Slide: I like how F. Buechner says it: "Here is the world, terrible and beautiful things will happen. Don’t be afraid."
Easier said than done.
As we continue along our Lenten journey, I have encouraged members of my household, especially the two little ones and myself to give up for lent: Freaking out!
It’s funny the images and especially the songs which come to mind as I cobble together my sermons. Last week, It was devil went down to Georgia.
This week: Aw Freak out:"All that pressure, Got you down.
Has your head spinning all around""Freak out."
No, this Lent I tell the kids and myself Don’t Freak Out! Lent is a period where we recognize our need for God, and in new ways discover how we might become closer to God and to others.
By not Freaking out! we are more pleasant to be around so others might care to be around us. And we are demonstrating a dependence on God, again, easier said than done...Because we "aww freak out!"
Why do we freak out?
Any number of reasons: In Star Wars: the Force Awakens, Kylo Ren kind of freaked out on several occasions when he received bad news! I freak out when I’m hungry--hangry moments? And when I’m tired, and when I’m not getting my way, and when I’m disappointed. when I’m afraid, when I’m fill in the blank:
In our passage from Genesis 15 we catch Abram, soon to be father of our faith Abraham, is kind of freaking out.
Why? He’s disappointed. He fears for his future. He's losing his patience.
We can probably relate to this, but if we’re honest many, if not most of our disappointments have come from unrealistic expectations we’ve set for ourselves. Why were we hoping for that outcome in the first place? Had we consulted God before we set that expectation? or was it something we just felt like we deserved?
But for Abram, it was different than from most of us, because, at least according to the story in the bible, his expectation had actually been promised to him by the LORD--directly.
In Genesis chapter 12, the Lord tells him countless offspring!Yet, many years pass and as Abram sees it,
he had been given no offspring---....except for his child born of his slave and foreigner--
Side note: here we see evidence of the prejudice of our forefathers all the way back to father Abram. A sin we’re still trying to overcome...So, because the Lord had promised and not yet fulfilled:
Slide: On a starry evening
Abram kind of freaks out.
Using his personal direct line to God--
which most clergy have of course --
He has this conversation, if we can call it that.
God responds: “Do not be afraid!”
But, but..you promised!
“Here we go again,” says the patient Lord.
Abram, go outside and count the stars, that’s how many your offspring will be…..
I wonder if this was kind of a trick God used to get Abram to fall asleep when Abram started freaking out. Like counting sheep.