Occasionally, we will reprint prior devotions that now reflect on the coming lectionary texts. This is a reprint from a devotion originally published on February 25, 2015.
Prayer: Bless our Moslem brothers and sisters today, O Lord.
Reading: Romans 4:13-25 (Click to read text)
Stop and GROW: After reading the text, discuss/ponder the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's Book of Faith questions, which are part of Camp Mount Luther's GROW Time with campers.
QUESTION 1: What scares, confuses, challenges, or doesn’t make sense to me in this text?
QUESTION 2: What delights me in this text or is my favorite part of the story?
QUESTION 3: What stories or memories does this text stir in me?
QUESTION 4: What is God up to in this text?
…but also to those who share the faith of Abraham (for he is the father of of of us). v. 16
We easily remember Abraham’s son Isaac, born to Sarah very late in life. Too often we overlook Ishmael, Abraham’s first born conceived by Sarah’s servant, Hagar. It is a difficult story, I think. Ishmael was treated as a son with all the blessings and rights, until Isaac was born. Then Ishmael and Hagar were banished from the family in favor of Isaac. But not before Ishmael received his own promise from God. He, like Abraham, would be the father of a great nation. (Gen. 17:20). That great nation is today’s Arab world, our Moslem brothers and sisters who trace their heritage to Abraham, just as we Christians and Jews do. We are all the children of Abraham.
Given the terror happening in our world, Ishmael is a reminder for us to love our Moslem brothers and sister. Some adherents to Islam reek horrible havoc in our world. But that does not indict all Moslems. Most are loving, caring, graceful sisters and brothers worthy of our respect and love.
Let us today rejoice and give thanks for Hagar, Ishmael, Moslems and all who share the faith of Abraham. --Jim Bricker
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