Over the next few weeks we’ll be following a series of sermons at St Thomas’ about Abraham, the Father of our faith. I’ll be posting my sermons (and those of other preachers in the series if they’ll let me!) after each Sunday service.
I don’t normally write out sermons as a full text, and it’s entirely possible that what I preach may not be exactly what I’ve written, but we’ll see how it goes!
Anyway, here’s the introduction that’ll be in tomorrow’s pewsheet…
Over the summer, we’re going to look at what we can learn from Abraham, The first of the ‘Patriarchs’ (the ‘Fathers of Faith’) from the book of Genesis. Each week we’ll include some notes and questions to think about during the week on the pewsheet. I’ll also post these questions on Facebook each day. Some of the things we think about may be very personal and best kept to yourself, but there may be some things where it helps to respond in writing on Facebook or talk to one another and share ideas. Hopefully the whole church will be thinking about the same questions on the same day, so we should be able to help one another! These questions and illustrations are adapted from the book ‘Abraham: Following God’s Promise’ which is available online through Logos.com. You might find it interesting, but there’s no need to read it to understand the series!
The first 11 chapters of Genesis have been set in a mythical past, as God deals with the whole world as one. If you have time, you might like to reread them to set the scene in terms of the Bible story.
At the end of chapter 11, the focus changes and we meet Abraham. For the rest of the book of Genesis, the story is about what God does for and through Abraham and his family.
Abraham lived in the city of Ur, probably around 1800 BC. We can’t be completely sure where that was, but most people agree it was in what would become Babylon, then modern Iraq – the southeast of the two options on the map. He was surrounded by a bronze-age pagan culture, and of course he didn’t have the Bible as a starting point for knowing about God! So as we’ll see, he finds out who God is step by step, and along the way he sometimes gets things right and sometimes wrong. And we might even find that when he gets things right it looks wrong to us… And just to warn you, his name changes along the way. He starts as Abram, not Abraham.
But let’s start on the journey with Abra(ha)m and see where it takes us!
From our current parish magazine, here’s the list of themes and readings for the whole series, so you can look ahead if you’re interested!
|18 June||12:1-9||1. Setting out in faith|
|25 June||12:10-20||2. Fear versus faith|
|2 July||St Thomas’ Day|
|9 July||14:1-24||3. Active Faith|
|16 July||15:1-16:16||4. Dealing with Doubt|
|23 July||17:1-18:15||5. Promising the Impossible|
|30 July||18:16-33||6. Bargaining with God|
|6 August||The Transfiguration|
|13 August||20:1-18||7. God’s Forgiving Faithfulness|
|20 August||21:1-5, 22:1-8||8. Of Sons and Sacrifice|