I think folks like to tell stories of the past that put the best ‘face’ on situations. This week’s reading from Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16 wraps things up in a pretty tidy package, but I think we do ourselves a disservice by avoiding the verses ‘in the middle’ as well as exploring the whole context of Abraham and Sarah’s story.
We’re missing the circumcision verses:
And by ignoring them in this week’s reading, I think we miss out on a discussion circumcision among other people in the area when Abraham lived and when his story was written. It seems we want to remove it from our thoughts because we think the discussion will be too distracting from the message of God’s promise that we want to explore.
We’re missing the story of Abraham’s other children and how they link today’s Christians with our Muslim and Jewish brothers and sisters:
I think the overall narrative of the Bible – God creates, we mess us, God restores and reconciles, we mess up . . . shows a care and love of God for all creation. Telling the story of Ishmael, Isaac and all of Abraham’s other children helps, I think, Christian folk realize that we are part of a heritage that ties folks together and also one that continues in different God-serving religions.
When part of the story keeps us from understanding the nature of the whole story I wonder if it is better left untold?
What are your thoughts?