Today's Lectionary Text
By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death.
By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future.
By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.
By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions concerning the burial of his bones.
By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born,because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.
By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. By faith he kept the Passover and the application of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.
For Christmas two years ago, my mother gave everyone a DNA kit and asked us to sign up. I’ve always been reticent to share my very personal and private information, especially at the molecular level, but since my mother had asked, I did the unthinkable and spit into the vial, sent it off and waited for the results, although I was certain of the results having subscribed to the family newsletter for years. I’m happy to report there were no big surprises.
Our family has a resident genealogist and we’ve discovered all kinds of exciting things about the Ogilvie (or Ogilvy) clan who, at the request of the king, came to North America from Scotland in the 1600s. The family castles still stand and part of the estate joins Balmoral, so we like to think about going there someday and possibly getting a glimpse of some distant royal cousins. We are proud of our heritage in this respect. For most generations, the family has had a Presbyterian minister among the clan and my mother’s generation was pleased to have Lloyd Ogilvie represent them, but sorry to know of his passing in June. He was chaplain of the U.S. Senate on Sept. 11, 2001, and had the grim responsibility of leading the prayer on that day and the uncertain days that followed. As always, I’ve been proud of my family’s religious heritage.
But look at Hebrews 11:17-28 and think about our heritage as children of God! Our spiritual forefather Abraham had faith that believed God would give him descendants even if it meant raising the dead, so much so that he was not hesitant to offer his only son as a sacrifice! Our kids at VBS this year sang the song “Father Abraham” with enthusiasm as they marched around the stage. Do we realize what that song means even as adults? All the other great heroes of faith mentioned in Hebrews 11 are our models for faith and remind us that we, too, have the promises of God as a heritage and an inheritance. It really is our spiritual DNA!
Thanks be to God!
Prayer for Reflection
Father God, thank you for the One who gave us the right to be called your children. Help us to believe and show others what you have done out of your unending grace and love.
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