Tuesday, 19 July 2016

THE MIRACLE IN WELCOMING (GENESIS 18:1-10

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reflections
welcoming heart
18 The Lord appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent in the heat of the day. Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he hurried from the entrance of his tent to meet them and bowed low to the ground... (NIV)

The story of Abraham is always an interesting one. Here we have again another powerful story that has an enriching message in it. I captioned this reflection, “the power of welcoming” because after reflecting on this passage I saw the necessity of having a welcoming spirit.
Abraham is a man of many awesome and rare virtues, and one of them is manifested in this passage of the scripture.
Abraham was sitting outside due to the heat of the day, it seems obvious that a place like Israel will have such continuous harsh and unfavourable weather. This first picture shows a condition that is unfavourable, a state of being where inevitable for one to be harsh and prone to nagging and scolding. Nobody likes discomfort and no one would naturally like to be interrupted when enjoying such cool air of the day especially when the weather is terribly hot. It was in this state that Abraham saw three seemingly weak and needy travellers. He had compassion on them. He felt the surge within him to help. But more especially he saw something beyond what ordinary eyes can see. He saw God in them. He behaves like a little boy who saw his father for the first time after a long absence from home. I love the expression the scripture uses here when it says, he looked up and saw. Why is it that Abraham had to look up before he can see? Probably he was bent down. He wasn’t looking up at the first instance. The idea of looking up here expresses a great sign of hope. Looking up is hope, looking down is despair. Another way we can put it is that Abraham looked up in hope and he saw. When we are downcast, there is always little or no sign of hope. It was at the very moment he raised his face that he saw three men standing near him. And what did he do? He didn’t start questioning and giving them the usual long interview of ‘where from’ and ‘who are’. He saw them as his own and he ran to welcome them.
There is no greater display of hospitality than what Abraham did. Such passion and gladness in welcoming someone will give even your assassin a reason to love you. Abraham was not just held as the father in faith but was also brought as an example of genuine and courteous hospitality. This tremendous expression of hospitality by Abraham enthralled God and God, who can never be outdone in generosity, granted Abraham what he had most wanted in life: a child, a son. Sarah’s laughter, at the hearing of the promise of a son by her, was one of surprise rather than unbelief. When she eventually discovers who the visitor is, she becomes afraid for having doubted the promise of a son by God and so she denies that she has laughed.  

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