Genesis 17: 1-7, 15-16 (NRSVA)
1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said to him, ‘I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless. 2 And I will make my covenant between me and you, and will make you exceedingly numerous.’ 3 Then Abram fell on his face; and God said to him, 4 ‘As for me, this is my covenant with you: You shall be the ancestor of a multitude of nations. 5 No longer shall your name be Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you the ancestor of a multitude of nations. 6 I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. 7 I will establish my covenant between me and you, and your offspring after you throughout their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you.
15 God said to Abraham, ‘As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. 16 I will bless her, and moreover I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall give rise to nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.’
Laughter in the desert,
An old man’s voice, rough from years of wandering days,
Breath escaped in a puff, he hopes unheard,
Hoarse with disbelief,
As absurd promise is spoken:
The fatherhood of nations.
The stars mock in their number
The absence of a child.
A titter into a tent skin,
A woman spent in the labours of dry lands,
Wrinkles her lips round a wheeze, suppressed,
Wraps ageing hope
Round the impossible assurance
Of motherhood, long stolen.
The hot breeze blows scent of bread,
Covenant is made,
In the shock of quiet intimation,
One voice and three speak a generational blessing,
A son to be born,
Grace to be fulfilled
Multiplied beyond where the desert winds can blow.
The stars applaud in their number
God drawn near, become theirs, become ours.
Lent Legacy 2021 Action
Reflect — What signs of God’s presence might we revisit and wonder at? If you have been baptised, find out the date you were and celebrate it every year with friends.