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Archive for June, 2008

We are Hagar

So here’s where I went with my sermon. I told the story of Hagar and Ishmael as you find it in scripture, but then I went on to talk about the abuse of power in Sarah over Hagar and Ishmael. In the end I briefly likened it to the first world (the world of wealth and privilege) over the second & third world (the world where people work like machines for pennies). In some ways in the US we are Sarah. We use other countries or individual people to continue our status and power. But in other ways, there are plenty of Hagars and Ishmaels among us. We are people who have been used by others to give them status and power.

I could have gone on so much further in this analogy, and I’m glad that it was informed/inspired by resources I found through textweek.com, my faithful preaching companion. I found a really fantastic sermon by another young clergywoman who really inspired to continue to pursue preaching on this text. This story is not told because the story of Abraham and Sarah over shadows it and puts it in a lower position. Hmmm. Isn’t it so much easier to always focus on the happiness of the victor, the one who is already in power?

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Last Sunday I preached Abram & Sarai/Abraham & Sarah; Is anything too wonderful for the Lord?

This Sunday I’m not sure where I’m going. I could continue with Genesis and look more at Ishmael- “God hears”. The thought that comes to mind is be careful what name you give your child. In the Abraham story each character has a name with important meaning. And even God has names of specific meaning; Hagar calls God “the God who sees me”.

What is troubling is that when God tells Hagar that he is giving her a son to be named Ishmael, he also tells her that this son will live far away from his relatives. That he will be “like a wild donkey, fighting everyone and everyone fighting him.” (CEV) Ishmael is the father of the twelve princes who became the nation of Islam….fighting everyone and everyone fighting him. Like father like son. How easy it to say that this is still true today in reference to the Muslims.

Even though we are told that Ishmael would live away from his father’s people, when Abraham died Ishmael returned to honor him. And after the funeral Isaac moves to the place where Hagar saw God. Curious how the family is so enmeshed; so like real life.

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