It’s all about invitation
Genesis 18: 1-15 (NRSVA)
1 The Lord appeared to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the entrance of his tent in the heat of the day. 2 He looked up and saw three men standing near him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent entrance to meet them, and bowed down to the ground. 3 He said, ‘My lord, if I find favour with you, do not pass by your servant. 4 Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree. 5 Let me bring a little bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on—since you have come to your servant.’ So they said, ‘Do as you have said.’ 6 And Abraham hastened into the tent to Sarah, and said, ‘Make ready quickly three measures of choice flour, knead it, and make cakes.’ 7 Abraham ran to the herd, and took a calf, tender and good, and gave it to the servant, who hastened to prepare it. 8 Then he took curds and milk and the calf that he had prepared, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree while they ate.
9 They said to him, ‘Where is your wife Sarah?’ And he said, ‘There, in the tent.’ 10 Then one said, ‘I will surely return to you in due season, and your wife Sarah shall have a son.’ And Sarah was listening at the tent entrance behind him. 11 Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in age; it had ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. 12 So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, ‘After I have grown old, and my husband is old, shall I have pleasure?’ 13 The Lord said to Abraham, ‘Why did Sarah laugh, and say, “Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?” 14 Is anything too wonderful for the Lord? At the set time I will return to you, in due season, and Sarah shall have a son.’ 15 But Sarah denied, saying, ‘I did not laugh’; for she was afraid. He said, ‘Oh yes, you did laugh.’
If you want to catch fish, you need to be inviting...
In fly fishing, for instance, people spend a lot of time and money preparing the right kind of lure to make their hook more attractive than other offerings in the water.
In Abraham’s time, where the level of hospitality was equated to one’s reputation, he is keen to offer food and shelter to the three men standing nearby and immediately sets Sarah to work in preparing bread as well as sending a servant to prepare meat. In doing so, Abraham is also demonstrating what many consider to be the most tangible and practical way of obeying and serving the Lord. As we are reminded in Hebrews 13:2, who knows when we may be entertaining angels?
During lockdown it has been beautiful to see the number of people across our communities and church families donating food for those who are struggling as well as preparing meals for those on the front line who are exhausted.
Offering refreshment, in many cases, births relationships that can sometimes result in new and exciting opportunities and challenges for all concerned. As Sarah found out, this is certainly not a laughing matter!
We thank you for the myriad ways
in which people seek to show love in action each and every day.
From packets to banquets,
hallow and bless the relationships that form through such gestures,
no matter how big or small.
Help us to be your hands, your feet and your mouth