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Daily Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Monday, July 11, 2022  

Today’s Scripture Reading  |  Genesis 18:1–10a

The Lord appeared to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the entrance of his tent in the heat of the day. He looked up and saw three men standing near him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent entrance to meet them and bowed down to the ground. He said, “My lord, if I find favor with you, do not pass by your servant. Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree. Let me bring a little bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on—since you have come to your servant.” So they said, “Do as you have said.” And Abraham hastened into the tent to Sarah and said, “Make ready quickly three measures of choice flour, knead it, and make cakes.” Abraham ran to the herd and took a calf, tender and good, and gave it to the servant, who hastened to prepare it. Then he took curds and milk and the calf that he had prepared and set it before them, and he stood by them under the tree while they ate.

They said to him, “Where is your wife Sarah?” And he said, “There, in the tent.” Then one said, “I will surely return to you in due season, and your wife Sarah shall have a son.” (NRSV)

When was the last time some good news came to your doorstep? Whether the doorstep of your home or the pinging of your texts, good news seems rare these days. This story of God coming to the barren couple, Abraham and Sarah, brings with it such promise—good news that it is beyond reason and belief. Yes, the strangers come to the tent opening. Abraham and Sarah have been on the move for a very long time, with God starting the grand engagement with them with a simple word: “Go.” Pick up and move to a place I’ll show you, says God to Abraham. Pack lightly for the journey. And off they go—on faith. And today a couple strangers stand before Abraham with such news of great joy, and he scarce can take it in.

Maybe the more important question for us is when the good, astonishing, preposterous news comes into our lives, what do we do? If the news is like this news that came to the ancient couple that they better get the diaper service ready, the bassinet set, the midwife on call, the ready arms open to receive the little one, do we roll our eyes, shrug with that “yeah, right” defiance, set our defenses on the ready to curb possible disappointment?

But you know what? This God that came to that couple long ago kept showing up throughout the Bible with promises that jar loose even our most atrophied expectations. And you know what else? This God still comes. If I did not believe this with all my being, I would not be able to do my job with any integrity. But even more, this is not about me. This is about God. This is about a God that bends our tightly drawn absolutes to pliable dreams beyond our wildest fancy.

What is your deepest heart’s desire? Where does it press on your soul’s longing? Look out the door. There may be messengers there with the word: Nothing, absolutely nothing is impossible for God. This is radical. This is joy. This is the power of the good news beyond measure.

Yes, O God, meet us at the door when we have given up. Yes, O Christ, you placed in us a reaching heart, guiding us to the threshold, meeting us with stunning news. Give us courage to continue to hope, to wait, and when you meet us give us an earth-shaking joy, laughter abundant, for the sheer gift of your bounty! Amen.

Written by Lucy Forster-Smith, Senior Associate Pastor for Leadership Development and Adult Education

Reflection and prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church

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