The not so straight-forward story of AbramNovember 14, 2012
(An All-Age Story from ‘Twists and Turns’ – Beth Barnett, SUVic 2012.This is one of a collection of stories to be told dramatically, in street theatre tradition, recovering the art of story-telling as a community forming and transforming gift.)
I want to tell you a story. I’d love to read it to you straight from the Bible, but it turns out that it’s such an epic adventure that it goes on for pages and pages and pages. So you can look it up yourself sometime.
But for now, let’s see if I can get the story straight for you.
About three and a half thousand years ago lived a man called Abram. Abe lived in the city of Ur, that’s a nice straightforward name to remember…Ur. The city of Ur had nice straight streets and nice straight buildings. You can even look it up in those nice straight history books stacked on the nice straight shelves in the library.
So it turns out, Abe was very wealthy: He owned sheep and cattle and goats as well as silver and gold. Yep, Abe was headed straight for the good life, straight for success.
But it turns out, that God had other ideas. Ideas that were not so straightforward.
God said to Abe, “Let’s go on an adventure! I want to bless you!”
Abe was a bit worried he wasn’t hearing God straight.
Abe thought, “I’m already blessed – I’ve got sheep and cattle and goats and silver and gold. I’m already headed straight for a good life.”
But God said to Abe, “Listen straight up, Abe – I want to bless you in a way that isn’t just for you. I want to bless you in a way that turns out blessing for more people than there are stars in the sky. It’s not all about you, you know.”
“Right”, said Abe “turns out it’s not all about me. An adventure then!”
Now you might have noticed that already God has blessed Abe in a new way – Abe is now a friend of God. Turn that over in your mind as we head straight down Adventure Road with Abe and God.
Abe – and his sheep and cattle and goats and gold and silver and wife and workers and nephew and his nephew’s sheep and cattle and goats and gold and silver and wife and workers – all left Ur.
They headed straight down the road of adventure, wondering how they could be blessed to turn out blessing for more people than there are stars.
Along the way they turned some strange corners, and a number of twists and turns in the road.
A famine hit, not what you’d straight away think of as blessing.
And the place where Abe’s nephew was staying got blown up. Also not what you’d think of straight away as blessing.
And they turned another corner and headed down to Egypt where Abe wasn’t quite straight with the Pharaoh of Egypt and it didn’t turn out well. Except that he ended up with more sheep and cattle and goats and gold and silver and workers.
But all the way through this adventure, Abe was waiting for something God had promised. A son. This was the way God was going to bless Abe, to turn out blessing for more people than there are stars in the sky. Because, as Abe remembered, it wasn’t all about him.
Even when this little boy was born, it wasn’t straightforward in Abe’s family.
If you’ve got a family you’ll know that it’s rarely straightforward.
But it turns out that this son, Isaac, had two sons, and these sons had more sons and daughters. And they had even more sons and daughters. Until one of these daughters called Mary, also had a son, though even that wasn’t very straightforward.
And it turns out that this son, Jesus was the way –
The way God would turn blessing for more people than there are stars in the sky. Blessing for you and I.
And what blessing is that? Well, it’s not sheep and cattle and goats and gold and silver and wives and workers.
It’s being a friend of God.
It’s the blessing that says, life is not all about you, or all about me.
It’s the blessing that says you and I can be a blessing to others.