The aging man looked into the sky.
“No longer will you be called Abram, “exalted father” – you will now be called Abraham, “father of many.”
Years pass. In obedience, on a mountain called Moriah, he offers his son as a sacrifice to God. The ultimate act of a father’s giving, the ultimate silencing of the name the angel has given you.
God stops him. His name will remain – he will be the father of many through his son.
Gaze turned upward, he sees that stars – “As numerous as the starts in the sky, so shall be your descendants.”
He wonders, “How could such a big story ever be – it is beyond my perspective, my imagination, even my hope.”
Abraham has been invited into a story that is bigger than the one in which he is living, and his story of obedience leads in a straight path to you and I, living our lives out before the God of Abraham.
These past two weeks, I was in Turkey and Greece, traveling and studying with friends and colleagues, worship leaders, artists, creative influencers, as well as pastors, leaders of social justice networks and fellow teachers.
We stood in Laodicea, Philadelphia, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Collosse, Galatia, Istanbul, Patmos, Ephesus, Phillippi, Thessalonica, Athens.
We touched 4000 year old walls in Troy and Mycenae, walked through cities of the dead (necropolis), lingered inside of Aggamemnon’s tomb and outside Phillip of Macedon’s mound (Alexander the Great’s father).
Majestic, marble cities, now buried in dirt and rock, rest as icons of civilizations, come and gone.
Stories of people. Stories of Paul standing on Mars Hill, where we stood, with all of Athens spread out in panoramic vista behind him and the grand Parthenon to his left, speaking to the great philosophical jamboree of men before him. “The unknown god to whom you erect altars, has made himself known…” he says, and history is made.
“History does not happen to us; it happens through us,” friend and author Erwin McManus’ says in his book “Wide Awake.”
Is the story you are living in big enough, grand enough, expansive enough, for you to give you life and its energies to today?
Is your story a lasting story, one laced with doing justice, loving mercy, and walking humbly with your God?
Embrace the bigger Story in which we find ourselves today – the architecture all around you will crumble, but your story will live on.
Father, we want to outlive our lives by leaving a legacy of response to you. Our investments of time, energy, money and relationships we now align with your great Story. Let our story mingle with yours today in the healing of human hearts, the doing of justice, the work of new creation and the championing of living, loving faith. Amen.