We thought it would be challenging to reflect upon the influence summer has upon our family lives. I’m convinced that many of us have mood changes, usually for the better, when the sun begins to shine. Our spirits lift when we feel the sun. However when it comes to living and dealing with family issues - summer can be the most stressful time of all. Going on holiday as a family, or entertaining the children over the long break from school, is no easy task.
The thing is holidays are meant to be relaxing. The word ‘holiday’ in English comes from a time when certain days were set apart as ‘holy’. This meant that workers got the day off to go to church and reflect upon the noble virtues of the holy person they were commemorating. In reality they often turned out to be times of great socialising and the relaxation came at the end of the day when everyone was exhausted. Today when we talk about holidays most people think of ‘time out’ and an opportunity to ‘get away from it all’, and perhaps rethink priorities.
There are 4 key stories in our lectionary readings this month that hinge around the importance of taking time out and going on a journey. For Abraham he goes on a journey with his son to figure our their relationship. We have Abraham’s servant Eliezer going on a journey to find a wife for Isaac. Then there is the story of Jacob, who is forced to flee because of his deceitful activities towards his father and brother. Finally, we have a story that centres around Jacob’s return journey and how he becomes reconciled to his brother Esau.
We have set a challenge to our 4 Daily Worship writers to write around these 4 stories. Each week the writers will use the sights and sounds of summer to help illustrate biblical truths that can be found in our readings are are still relevant to our families. This will be an opportunity to share songs, places we go on holiday, clothes we wear in the summer, flowers we grow in our gardens, books we read on holiday, and of course - our childhood memories of summer.
Each week contains several biblical readings. The first reading is the focus for the week, the other readings are the additional lectionary readings for the week and supplementary readings that could help unpack the sub-themes.
|2 Jul 2017||Misreading the Signs||
Numbers 22: 21-35
Genesis is all about personal and family relationships. Genesis 22.1-14 is an interesting passage to reflect on. You could say it’s about a father and son relationship that has the potential to go wrong. At a superficial level it appears God is testing Abraham to see if his loyalty to his long awaited son Isaac outstrips his love and devotion to him. In some ways it’s a difficult story because at first glance Abraham is contemplating child sacrifice.
Traditionally this story has been seen by Christian commentators as a prefiguring of the death of Christ. God the father makes a way of atonement for sinful humanity. Jesus is the lamb of God, God’s solution to redeem a rebellious world.
(Theme starts on Saturday the 1st, rather than Sunday so this first sub theme is 8 days)
|9 Jul 2017||In Search of Romance||
Genesis 24:34-38, 42-49, 58-67
Mark 5. 1-15
The second Genesis story you might say is about a romantic encounter. For many people Summer is the time for romance. So perhaps a romantic story in the right zone. This story may feel a bit off to those of who in the West but in many culture arranged marriages have worked for centuries.
Abraham and Sarah are reaching the end of their lives and Abraham calls his faithful servant and instructs him to go back to the land of his ancestors in search of a wife for his son Isaac. The story unfolds in such a way to show that God works in our hearts and minds to lead us to the right people at the right time in order to fulfil his purposes. Eliezer suceeds in finding Isaac a bride but the family difficulties continue.
Eliezer - Wedding Planner/Matchmaker
|16 Jul 2017||Sibling Rivalry||
The whole incident of being tied and bound by his father must have had a profound effect on Isaac. We don’t know much about his relationship with Abraham, but one can only imagine it being tense.
Now Isaac has to build a relationship with his own sons Jacob and Esau. This proves to be very difficult. It appears even in the womb his sons were at loggerheads It is this struggle between brothers that shapes the family dynamic and causes great bitterness and grief, mistrust and deceit between Isaac and Rebekah.
Casual response to inheritance
|23 Jul 2017||Restless Longing for Home||
Psalm 139:1-12, 23-24
In the final week we think of those last days of summer, when the fierce heat is giving way to cooler breezes as the seasonal cycle moves on. We think about reconciliation and forgiveness and look ahead to the generations ahead of Jacob. As the years turn patterns repeat themselves and Jacob has to face many of his own demons.
Complexity of human nature, sanctuary and deception