Today's Scripture Reading
The Call of Abram
12:1 Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. 2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
4 So Abram went, as the Lord had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.
At the far north of Lake Huron, one of the five Great Lakes in the United States, lies 100-mile-long Manitoulin Island, the largest freshwater island in the world. Between this island and the north shore of the lake is a lovely cruising area called the “North Channel”. Hundreds of islands provide beautiful views and protected anchorages for sailors. Deer, beavers, otters, mink, and black bears are sometimes spotted; eagles nest in the tall trees, and loons in the marshes. Sandhill cranes spend the summer in the area. The rocks, which line much of the shoreline and often provide an unpleasant surprise for boaters, are among the oldest on the planet. There is a sense that this is the way the world looked when the first humans learned to live off the bounty of the land.
Many boaters come here year after year - it’s not unusual to find people who have spent 35 summers in the North Channel. The sailing community is much like a small village, with old-timers mingled with transients who arrive, stay a while, then go on to other places. A few small towns dot the north shore of the lake and the island, and cruisers come in to the docks to escape bad weather or replenish their supplies from time to time. Perhaps because it’s a scarcely-populated area, and sailing always involves a certain amount of risk, strangers tend to chat when they encounter each other at dock or in remote harbors.
The questions are very predictable: “What’s your boat’s name?” Boat names say a lot about the people who named them. “Where are you from?” It’s not unusual to encounter someone from the same state, or area, or even hometown. Finally, “Where are you headed?” It’s particularly interesting that the phrase is not, “Where are you going?” Weather, mechanical problems, and a myriad of other factors often cause a change in plans, so the best one can say is that they are headed somewhere.
It might be a good idea if Christians were as open and forthcoming when they meet strangers. Suppose we asked the important questions early in our conversation. It’s a good way to find common ground, and it’s a good way to witness to what we believe.
“Do you have a church? What's its name?” - Are you a believer? What kinds of things do you believe?
“Where do you come from?” - How did you come to believe what you believe? Who or what formed your faith?
“Where are you headed?” - What are your dreams? How is your faith shaping those dreams? What do you plan to do along the way? What is God calling you to do or be?
Prayer for today:
Creator God, we give you thanks for the beautiful places and the beautiful people in our lives. Help us to learn how to cross the barriers that keep us strangers. Let us find joy in sharing the journey together, even if only for a short while. Amen.
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