Brunch-n-More: The whole family enjoys it. Casual conversation with others over eggs and morning rolls with jam and honey, cold cuts, cheeses, coffee, chocolate milk. Catching up with each other, filling each other in on the latest news, expressing grief or joy over the local and global events, movie reviews. Deeper sharing while cleaning up the kitchen, putting the tables away, nuggets from the philosophical or theological book we are in the middle of, stories about the arduous road family, or oneself, had to take to immigrate to a new country… unimaginable hardship for some of us, lived through for others who are standing in the kitchen, drying plates, tossing eggshells. Even little three year old Alexander is helping to vacuum the floor. We all come from somewhere. And we are all welcome here.
We want to try and enter someone else’s journey. Someone from long ago. Someone whose life was an experiment. We are also experimenting today, with a new method: Biblio-drama. We read the story together, name the characters, and each choose a part. We have a few minutes to ourselves to read some background information about time and place, people and culture, and then we come together to re-enact the first steps of faith for a man who was called to a better country, called to be a pilgrim, a sojourner, called to be the father of many and blessing to all: Abram. (Genesis 12)
And, like all experiments, there are chinks. The teens are perhaps too self-conscious for this method. The younger kids are having a blast playing pretend, and milk it for all it is worth to muck around and giggle. The adults? Are we able to feel the tension that Abram must have felt? The apprehension? The heavy weight of responsibility for his family and his servants, which he carried for a decision that would dramatically effect the course of their lives? What it must have meant for Sarai to follow someone, who was following someone else? Can we allow Abram and Sarai’s story to enter our story, and draw us out of our comfort zone, to become sojourners of another kind? Especially when the only thing we have to weigh against all the skepticism, know-better advice, doom-sayers, and scoffers, not to mention our own fear of failure and of the unknown calamity that surely awaits us ahead, is God’s call to us to move on. God’s call? What the heck is that? Please!!!! That is sooo Old Testament! What does that even sound like? Feel like? How would I know what it is, if I ever heard it?
But we do know, don’t we? Wouldn’t want to tell anybody about it, but there is that special kind of gnawing, isn’t there? A voice our own, and yet not our own, that irritates the crap out of us, telling us it is time to move on… or sometimes, time to make a stand, and get in someone’s way, who is up to no good. But that is another story. This story is about moving out, being the first to go into uncharted territory, becoming a foreigner and stranger among strangers, being led moment by moment without a plan, about never being too old to try something new, going as a guest and not for conquest, about putting a little distance to ties that would otherwise keep us stagnant and immobile. This story, which could also be our story, is about the free flow of blessing, and culture and hope. It’s about the promise of life, where we perhaps least expected it.
As in all experiments, there were chinks in their travels… as any can see who keep reading Abram’s story. So, I feel like we are in good company, when we don’t nail a bulls eye every time. I still believe in experimenting, and I still hear the call to search for ways to include everyone, encourage participation, and search for meaning together not only in ancient stories, but in each other’s stories especially.