Friday 25 September 2015

Bible Book:

“And Sarah died …” (v. 2)

Genesis 23:1-19 Friday 25 September 2015

Psalm: Psalm 97


This is a strange story indeed - a human story of grief after along marriage. A story in which Sarah's age is reported (verse 1) -thus placing her as the only woman in the 'patriarchy', for noother woman's age is given in the Scriptures. It is a foundationalstory of ancestry and identity. It is also a story about landrights and ownership. Stories from pre-history hold hugesignificance in the modern world, and this one establishes landrites that still matter. The land for Sarah's burial is given andbought, asked for and offered, and witnessed by all. I'm not sureit is possible to say where that land is now, but it is possible tosee that claims on land are made from the deepest and oldestmemories. We still fight wars about Sarah's grave though we may notrealise it. We embed ourselves in the ancient rights of ourancestors, as we inhabit the old tales of why things are the waythey are. As a story of grief it has a strange resonance with thedistracting activity that we can engage in as we avoid the pain ofthe moment. We can understand Abraham wanting to put energy into agrave because his pain would be immense. We can understand also whythe writers of this story want to underline the importance of aland claim in later years. It is in this account an indisputableclaim, though the land was in another country. We may alsounderstand the shaping of a people who have a father Abraham who isfaithful, but also a mother Sarah who laughed.

To Ponder

  • How do you distract yourself from sadness and loss, and how canyou offer that to God in this moment?
  • What stories do we tell about ourselves that shape who we are,and give us identity and purpose?
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