Go! for Lent: Genesis 12:1-10
God’s call to Abram is about as clear of a passage about going as there can be. God says, “get up! Leave! Go where I send you!” There is great physical displacement in this story. But, there is also more.
I began serving as a missionary for the Episcopal Church in August 2013 through the Young Adult Service Corps (YASC). I have lived in two different places in Haiti, beginning in a small town called Cange in the Central Plateau, to where I am currently in Cap Haïtien, one of the largest cities in Haiti. YASC is an experience, it is a calling, about GOING. Young adults 21-30 are sent by the church around the world to work in Anglican relationships in numerous places like Hong Kong, Panama, El Salvador, Brazil and South Africa.
Just like with Abram, there is great physical displacement in YASC. And also like the sending of Abram, though great things are promised, there is no promise that it will be easy or without problems.
I have recently tried a new form of prayer where, when reading a passage from the Bible, I must insert myself into the story as a character that speaks to me. Then, I’m to think and feel like them where they are and with what they are experiencing using what I gain from the passage.
Though Abram is called to leave behind many things and go to another place, something that resonates with me while living in Haiti, there is also a different way that Abram must go in this story. Abram must go towards God. Abram must not only accept God’s call, but he must lean into God, trusting in the blessings and protections God promises in the journey. That is not easy to do, no matter what challenges and course that God has laid before us.
This type of going is something that anyone can do anywhere they are. There is no requirement to leave anything or anyone, nor is there a necessity to get up and move.
I suspect most of us, if we take on a Lenten discipline, conduct it within our daily lives, somewhere that feels familiar to us but that we want to change and improve in some way. Try inserting yourself into this story as Abram. Consider what he’s facing, what God is asking of him, and what God is promising. How does Abram reason that it’s a wise idea to answer this call? Which, then, is the more significant act of going? Is it the physical path Abram takes, or the decision to go towards God?
Lean into the going.