Saturday, February 13, 2016

The Second Sunday in Lent (C), February 21, 2106 - Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18

Sorry; I don't know who did this, but I like it!

For a poem on the Luke 13:31-35 passage for Lent 2 (C), please see my poem from 2013 at

The Big Delay

Oh, why did Abraham believe,
When God said, what was up God's sleeve
Was Abraham would have an heir,
And of the promise, had a prayer?
It's so important here to see
The promise long-delayed as key
To what this text to us declares:
That Abram's yearning now compares 
To all our hopes for justice, peace,
While faith, though questioning, not cease.
The stars, God's generosity, declare,
And still, unceasing love, God dares.
There's still a vision for this time,
It speaks of peace, and does not lie,
If it seems long, we still need wait,
For come it will, and not be late.

Scott L. Barton

(The concluding four lines is the message of Habakkuk 2:3. Remember that this Gen. 15 promise of God's to Abram wasn't the first; it was given way back in chapter 12 and still has not appeared. So Abram questions God, wondering if God really, really meant it. Holding in tension that problem of unresolved promise is always the nature of this faith of ours. But "standin' on the promises," as the old hymn goes, is the only way to live and so invite such promise into being.)

After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, “Do not be afraid, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.”

But Abram said, “O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “You have given me no offspring, and so a slave born in my house is to be my heir.” But the word of the Lord came to him, “This man shall not be your heir; no one but your very own issue shall be your heir.” He brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” And he believed the Lord; and the Lord reckoned it to him as righteousness.

Then he said to him, “I am the Lord who brought you from Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to possess.” But he said, “O Lord God, how am I to know that I shall possess it?” He said to him, “Bring me a heifer three years old, a female goat three years old, a ram three years old, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” He brought him all these and cut them in two, laying each half over against the other; but he did not cut the birds in two. And when birds of prey came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away.

As the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram, and a deep and terrifying darkness descended upon him.

When the sun had gone down and it was dark, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces. On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates,

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