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Genesis 4:1-10 & Genesis 11:31-12:6
We’re taling about Mission – what God calls us to be and do, or how we respond in gratitude to the gift of faith (as Calvin might explain it). Mission – doing good – or living for God – isn’t a question of doing [good] works, but of walking in the Light of God, of responding to what’s already happening. So where does that all start? How do we understand how we are to be for and with others by faith?
We’be talked about how the we have to begin at the ending (eschatology), with the prefered future of God for the world, and now we return to the starting line: the call of Abraham and Sarah. In the Bible narrative they are the first to really respond with a faithful yes to God’s promise, call and gift of faith. It’s not just their story – of an old childless couple. It’s our story – the story of God’s will and work with creation – breathing life to a radical newness that resurrects us to the purpose, passion and promise of God.
Genesis 4 tells the story of the first family, the false start, in creation. They don’t respond in faith to the promise of God. We see here their independence, and self-focused vision. Eve is proud to have created children. Cain is jealous of the approval of his brother by God, and so kills him, so that there is no more competition for God’s approval. Why did God approve of Abel’s gift, more than Cain’s? What do you see in the text? Cain cannot respond to the question of the Holy One. He lies saying he doesn’t know his brother’s whereabouts, insisting upon his self-contained vision – that he is his own keeper, not responsible for his brother or anyone else.
In Genesis 12 we see God’s new start, or re-start of creation.
Abraham and his family are already on a journey, but God calls him out of his homeland, the familiar, the world he knows, to discover the promise of God’s presence, purpose and passion. God’s promises 7 things. What are they? And then God reveals the process by which God will act in the world: through the life of Abraham and Sarah, through those that interact with them, to the ends of the earth and all peoples. God creates a new future, discontinous with the past and the present. Abraham and Sarah in responding “yes” demonstrate the capacity to embrace the announced future of God with such passion that they can relinquish the present for the sake of the future. We see that unfold in his entire story in Genesis 11:30-25:18.
Question for Going Deeper:
1. What grabs your attention in these texts?
2. What worldview does Cain have? Abraham? And you today – how do you see the world? God? Yourself? Others?
3. What does it mean to be blessed to be a blessing?
4. Abraham is called to leave, or walk forth from his homeland. It’s the same word to WALK or GO [h-l-k] as in Isaiah 2:5 – Come let us walk in the light of the Lord. How is being – or doing – mission – walking in the light of the Lord?
5. How does God’s promise extend to us today? How do you – or we as a church community – respond in faith to that promise?