Abraham Welcomes the Lord
Preparing for the Third Sunday of Easter, One Day Before Sunday (Year C)
Psalter: Psalm 30
Old Testament: Genesis 18:1-8
Gospel: Luke 14:12-14
Holy God, you have called us to follow in the way of your risen Son, and to care for those who are our companions, not only with words of comfort, but with acts of love. Seeking to be true friends of all, we offer our prayers on behalf of the church and the world. Amen.
The Lord appeared to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the entrance of his tent in the heat of the day. He looked up and saw three men standing near him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent entrance to meet them, and bowed down to the ground. He said, “My lord, if I find favor with you, do not pass by your servant. Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree. Let me bring a little bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on—since you have come to your servant.” So they said, “Do as you have said.” Genesis 18:1-5)
by Larry Broding at Word-Sunday,
How do we welcome the Lord? Do we look and see if he is coming? Or do we mind our own business, waiting for God to surprise us? Do we act or do we react? Today’s reading tells us to act.
As a nomad, Abraham and his family lived in tents, as they traveled with their grazing herds in the desert. The few who lived in the harsh deserts of Judea depended upon each other for survival. Visitors were treated very well, for they brought companionship and help for the host. The practice of hospitality was highly prized in Abraham's time.
As a merchant, Abraham looked for opportunities to trade. Any visitors meant an possibility to trade for materials he needed. No wonder he ran to greet three strangers and begged them to stay! [18:2-3]
As a gracious host, Abraham prepared and served a gourmet meal. [18:6-8] In return, the leader promised Abraham and his wife Sarah a son. Abraham who graciously gave the meal received a gift that was so much greater. He had a heir, one who could help manage the family flocks and the family trade, one who could take care of Abraham and Sarah in their old age, one who could carry on the family name and the family memory.
Who gave him this promise? The Lord [18:1] and his two companions: His “goodness and kindness” (from Psalm 23:6), His “light and truth” (Psalm 43:3), and His “justice and judgement” (Psalm 97:2). (The pairs of divine qualities are given human form by Hebrews; Christians see the wanderers as the three persons of the Trinity.) In other words, God in his fullness gave Abraham the promise of a son. As God promised, so it happened.
Abraham did not hesitate to welcome strangers. And through his welcome, Abraham received the Lord and his promise.
How can we be gracious to others and open to the Lord?
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