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“By faith Abraham emigrated from the Land of his fathers and became an alien in the promised land. He left one thing behind, took one thing along: he left behind his worldly understanding, and he took along his faith.” Soren Kierkegaard Fear and Trembling

Years ago, the Atlantic carried an article on how to survive a disaster, where they looked at everything from ships sinking to terrorist attacks. The number one characteristic of those who survived is that they neither hesitated nor bothered with belongings. Those who went back for whatever did not survive.

Living by faith each day may not be that dramatic, but the stakes are the same. Faith certainly is challenging on many levels, but the practice of faith may be as simple as trusting a little and being willing to keep moving. Therein lies part of the power of the Abraham story, that we will begin exploring this Sunday. The Lord says to Abram “Go!” (Genesis 12:1) and Abram “went” (Genesis 12:4).

Now you may be thinking that if God spoke to me in the same way God did to Abraham, it would be much easier to believe. Perhaps, but my guess is that would not be the case. In the first place, we are not told how God communicated with Abraham. Those “divine” urgings in your heart and mind may be the same “voice” that was present to the father of the three great monotheistic faiths. And as we shall see, Abraham’s journey both in and towards faith was far from smooth. I have always said the only thing harder to sustain than faith, is unbelief.

It is a mystery why God called Abraham and why Abraham said yes, just as it is with all of us who are invited into the same journey and story. As the great Czech theologian and thinker Tomas Halik as stated, “faith is not a question of problems but of mystery.…We must never abandon the path of seeking and asking. A problem can be solved once forever. A Mystery—unlike problems—cannot be overcome. A Mystery invites us to try and understand it again, to go deeper and deeper.”


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