Lent 2 / March 1, 2015 / Year B
Preached: March 1, 2015, All Saints’ Church, Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY
This morning, we’ve just heard two stories about name-calling. In the Old Testament, God appears to an old married couple–Abram is 99 years old–God appears with words of encouragement and promises new life. God says, “Walk before me”–as if pushing them into the future with comforting hands. God makes a covenant, a promise, to them, that they will have many powerful children, even though they haven’t been able to have any children yet and they’re very old. It is an outrageous promise to make to these 90 year-olds! But God does it.
And that isn’t all God does. God also gives them new names. God says to the man, you will no longer be Abram, but Abraham. Sarai will no longer be Sarai, but Sarah. They want children desperately and deeply. It is outrageous and unexpected that God is promising them children now, and that it comes along with these new names–kinda weird names. You can imagine Abram & Sarai saying “Ok??? Like, I just got a lot of stationery with Abram printed on it??? But ok, God, I’ll try out Abraham.”