Today we reach the end of our journey through the stories of Genesis – and here it is good to remind ourselves, that through all these stories, one story has been being told. It is the attempt to tell the people of Israel where they come from, to tell them how they reached where they are, how it is that other peoples exist, where ancient enmities have come from, and where they as a people belong. … More Thus says the Lord God, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, I will gather others to them besides those already gathered.
For all sorts of reasons, the story from Genesis we have for today is a difficult story. We find it hard to get into the culture of the time; we know little or nothing of the marriage customs of the time it portrays; we might even find it hard to work out why the story is there at all. … More What is the kingdom of heaven like?
Near the house where I grew up in Stirling there is a shortcut up to the Old Town, the way to the castle; it saves you walking round the long way by the street. It consists of a long staircase, which is quite steep – and it is known locally as ‘Jacob’s Ladder’. It will not be the only one in Scotland, or indeed in the world, because this story of Jacob is one that has captured the imagination – it gives our mind’s eye something to picture, and artists have tried to offer their own interpretation of the dream Jacob had of a stairway to heaven. … More Jacob woke from his sleep and said, ‘Surely the Lord is in this place—and I did not know it!’
I was reminded in preparing this sermon of a book written by Umberto Eco about a tale of plots and threats, a tale invented in the nineteenth century to justify the persecution of the Jews, a tale of their threatened takeover of the world – ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion’. … More Thus Esau despised his birthright.
In 1990 we as a family were on holiday in Canada and, on Sunday, we went to church. The bible reading was the same one we heard this morning, about Abraham and Isaac, about sacrifice and the voice of God. The minister said that there was provision in the church hall for children during the sermon – and he encouraged parents to send their children to use that provision because, he said, what he was going to say might not be for young ears. So, of course, our 8 year-old and 6 year-old decided they were going to stay. … More By faith Abraham, when put to the test, offered up Isaac.