Twelfth Sunday of Pentecost (Year C)
August 11, 2013
Whenever you call me,
I’ll be there Whenever you want me,
I’ll be there Whenever you need me,
I’ll be there I’ll be around
–I’ll Be Around, the Spinners
I’ve had the pleasure of being inside some of the great cathedrals of Europe. I’ve been too Norte Dame, Sacre Coeur and Chartres in France; Westminster, St. Paul’s and Canterbury in the UK. These buildings are wonderfully ornate and awe-inducing. What has always fascinated me is that most of these cathedrals took decades and even centuries to build. Some guy from Paris who was laying bricks at Notre Dame was probably never going to see his work completed. And yet, people still kept working, day in and day out to complete their task for future generations.
I am reminded of this today when I read our text from Genesis. Abraham is not a happy soul. He heard the call from God to leave his homeland and come all this way to lay roots in strange land. All the while, God is telling him that he will be the father of a nation.
What gets a little odd is that God starts talking about a time when Abraham’s ancestors would be enslaved by a foreign power, a foreshadowing of what would happen to the Israelites under Pharaoh as told in Exodus. Abe takes this all in and believes.
It had to cross Abraham’s mind that he would never live to see all of this. He was giving up a lot, his whole life, for something that he would never see. And yet, he moves forward in faith.
We live in age where we want to be noticed. We also want to be our fame to happen RIGHT NOW. We tend to be a people that live in the now, with nary a thought about the generations that will come after us.
But history does march on, with or without us.
What would happen if we believe in God in such a way that we were able to live and work not just for us, but for those women and men who have not been born yet? What would our churches look like? What about our communities? Honest Abe has his doubts and that’s okay. We all have doubts that God will do what God will do. Abraham would falter later, but he would still keep plugging away trying to be faithful to God. He was faithful to a God that was faithful to him-even when it didn’t seem like it.
The lyrics at the beginning of this post is from the R&B group, the Spinners. “I’ll be around” was the first of a string of top ten hits for the Detroit-based group in the early and mid-70s. This 1972 song was about man who would always be waiting for his love who has left him.
This song wasn’t written about God, but it does remind me that even when God seems far away, God is present, God is with us, telling us that God will always be around.
Go and be church.