Notice the different sounds and where they come from
- When you begin a time of prayerful reflection, it’s always worth taking a few moments to become more still, more silent, more focussed. There are different ways of doing this, and you may already know one that suits you well. As you begin this time of prayer today, pay attention to whatever sounds you can here around you. You may be in a very quiet place; still, there is likely to be something you can hear. Or there may be a lot of noise around you, all the clamour of everyday life. Whatever your surroundings are like just now, notice the different sounds, and notice, too, where they come from.
Focus on anything you can hear nearby
- Now bring your attention inwards, and concentrate on any sounds nearer to you. Let the others go – they’ll still be there in the background. But focus on anything you can hear nearby, in the room where you are or coming from whatever or whoever is closest by. Pay attention for a moment to those more immediate sounds.
- Now leave those sounds, in their turn, to fade into the background as you let your attention move inwards. Find a quiet place within yourself, and for a moment or two simply rest there, in the quiet at the centre of yourself.
- Hear God’s word spoken into that quiet place, as you listen to the account that the book of Genesis gives of God’s calling of Abraham.
Genesis 12: 1 - 7
Now the Lord said to Abram, ‘Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’
So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. Abram took his wife Sarai and his brother’s son Lot, and all the possessions that they had gathered, and the persons whom they had acquired in Haran; and they set forth to go to the land of Canaan. When they had come to the land of Canaan, Abram passed through the land to the place at Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. Then the Lord appeared to Abram, and said, ‘To your offspring I will give this land.’ So he built there an altar to the Lord, who had appeared to him.
How did your faith journey begin?
- Abram, later given the name Abraham by God, is the first name in the list of ancestors of Jesus noted by Matthew in his gospel. The passage that you have just heard is the call that invites him to set out to the Promised Land. It was by answering this call that Abraham became what the Catholic liturgy calls “our father in faith”. Where and how did your own faith journey begin?
- Abram sets out because God makes him a promise. “I will make of you a great nation.” He puts his trust in God, and in God’s faithfulness to him. If you were challenged to account for your faith, to explain why you are, and remain, a Christian, what answer would you give. Are you aware of anything that God has promised you in your own life?
- God’s promise is not made to Abraham alone. He sets out with his wife, his nephew, much of his extended family, his entire household. And the promise extends forward: “To your offspring I will give this land”. Who are the people who accompany you on your faith journey, who support you and look to you to help them as they try to be Christ’s disciples?
Talking to the Lord
Thank God for some of the good things that he has done for you
- Later in his gospel, Matthew will tell of Jesus calling the God he knows as Abba as “the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob”. Here Abraham is named with his son and his grandson, the first three figures in Jesus’ ancestry as Matthew traces it. Through these generations God’s promises are fulfilled. Yet Isaac is not born until Abraham and his wife are already old, and very nearly becomes a human sacrifice. And Jacob only inherits the promise by tricking his older brother Esau out of it. God’s promises are, it seems, often fulfilled only in unexpected ways, sometimes when people have given up all hope. Can you see times when God has worked like that in your own life?
- At the end of this passage, Abraham, who has reached the Promised Land, builds an altar there to give thanks to God for all that God has done for him. You might like to end today’s prayer by taking a few minutes to thank God for some of the good things that he has done for you, and the promises that he has fulfilled in your own life.