Go Forth from the Familiar
God said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land I will show you…I will bless you, make your name great, so you will be a blessing.” (Genesis 12:1-2)
A typographical error can make a difference in meaning or provide new insights into a text. Instead of “go from your country,” I initially typed “grow from your country.” To go and to grow. To go from the familiar is to “grow.” It might not occur to you but this time of pandemic has been a time of growth. If we have been smart and attentive to the news, we have learned a lot of new behaviors. Like it or not, we have grown!
I wasn’t a big fan of Zoom and online classes but I have done twenty Sunday services and nearly 150 other zoom programs since March 15! Some have been chaotic and we have had technical glitches but I have learned, and I am grateful for all of Pam’s help! We have learned to observe safe distancing in public, even with friends, and to wear masks. We have also learned near daily practices in terms of hobbies, home repairs, and spiritual practices.
Abram and Sarai (later, Abraham and Sarah) were challenged to leave their familiar home to pilgrim toward new horizons. They had to let go of old habits to embrace new possibilities.
We have gone from the familiar and we can lament and grieve the losses and inconveniences, the daily death tolls we have experienced. But now over four months into the pandemic closures, we can claim that this is not “lost” time but the time of our lives, a time to “grow” even if we can’t “go.”
In growing, we will be blessed and out of our blessedness, we will bless others with joy and growth and discover adventures in each new days.
Loving God, take us beyond the familiar into the horizons of new possibility. Let us embrace each new day as an adventure and awaken each morning with a great “yes” to God and the adventures God has planned for us. Amen.
Bruce Epperly is a Cape Cod pastor, professor, and author of over fifty books, including HOPE BEYOND PANDEMIC, FAITH IN A TIME OF PANDEMIC, and GOD ONLINE: A MYSTIC’S GUIDE TO THE INTERNET