At 75 years, many folks are thinking about winding down; handing over to the next generation; taking it easy as the autumn years approach... some folks.
The reality of course is totally different!
The volunteers who keep our community going, who make sure we have paths to walk, flower borders to enhance our village, members of clubs and groups, archivists and activists are those who have stopped full time paid employment, and have instead taken on whole new ventures – new adventures very often stepping out in faith as they begin to do something totally new and challenging.
Thus it was with Abram; a good and faithful fellow, who at the age of 75 is issued this challenge from God
Go, and I will bless you and your descendants.
I will bless your many descendants..., who will become a great nation, and blessing.
Abram obeyed, taking with him his entire household – wife, nephew, slaves and off they went.
The story of Abram – who became Abraham is recorded over 12 chapters of Genesis and spans 100 years – for he was 175 when he died! And during that time God’s promise that he would father a nation came true... and indeed there were as many as there are stars n the sky or grains of sand on the shore.
But – what is this call to a man of faith telling us?
How can it shed new light onto the world for us today?
It speaks strongly of faith – of stepping out in faith, without any real plan, or reason except the hope and the trust in God, and God’s promises.
Reading the chapters concerned with Abram’s life and his journey with God we can see that he did not always get it right; that sometimes he got it spectacularly wrong! Yet still God was with him; still he trusted God, followed God, believed God’s promises and fulfilled God’s call.
He had the option to say no! He had the option to stay where he was, living out his comfortable life securely in Haran; but instead he chose to accept God’s challenge, to start that journey into the unknown; to step out in faith, and hope, and trust following wherever he was led, and at every turn, dedicating the time and the place to God.
We can learn a lot from that!
Abram realised some eternal truths.
You are never too old.
It is never too late.
With God on the journey, anything is possible.
God’s promise to Abraham is recognised in the billions of stars in the night sky; in the billions of descendants – people of faith throughout the world
Abraham’s faithfulness to God is remembered in every cairn; every memorial stone; every place where God’s word is declared all around the world.
To receive God’s promise, God’s blessing, Abraham couldn’t simply sit still and wait for something to happen where he was – he had to step out on the journey; he had to move in response to God’s call.
So with us in this exceptional week.
We have been given a task that is like no other, for it is in our hands to decide the future of our country, whether like Abram we are seventy-five; or whether we’re sixteen and just starting out in life.
I have listened very carefully over the past months, to discussions and debates; I have read so many reports, and opinions, and some not very kind reflections too.
I have finally reached a decision – not that I am going to tell you!
I hope you too have reached a decision and, upon reaching that decision I hope that you too have thought long and hard, have reflected and considered what you believe will be best for the country, for future generations. This Thursday we will join with the rest of the country in exercising our democratic right – to vote. And, on Friday to accept the result – whatever it is.
God calls us to follow faithfully; whether we are within the Union or without, we will still follow faithfully, we will still answer God’s call; we will still be who we are – and we will faithfully continue the journey.
Within our community, there will be friends, colleagues, neighbours who are disappointed, or distraught; there will be friends and neighbours and colleagues who are delighted and overjoyed – it is essential that we pray for peace, for acceptance, for vision and for those who will then have to work on the next phase – for again, whatever the outcome there will be work to do.
Like it was for Abram, it will be God’s work
He stopped to pray and listen for God
And he was blessed
He received God’s promise
We too need to move
To step out
To pray and listen to God
And to receive blessings in faith
I have both dreaded and looked forward to this week; I have no idea what the future will bring; what the future will look like
But this I know; in stepping out in faith and hope, we trust in God’s promises – and they are eternal. Amen