irony of ironies….

Frank Griswold preaches at Belfast Cathedral

Genesis 12:1-4
Romans 4:1-5, 13-17
John 3:1-17

[ENS] 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.” Thus, the Lord directed Abram: he told him to leave home. Home can mean many things. It might mean a place that is familiar and secure. It might refer to a pattern of relationships that support and sustain us. Home might mean a structure of attitudes and perceptions that allow us to make meaning and determine our place in the world.

Conversely, home can be a place of continual unsettlement and dis-ease. In some instances home can mean a perpetual state of uncertainty, into which threat and chaos are free to enter at a moment’s notice.

As well, home can be a national or cultural or ethnic or religious identity by which we define ourselves, often over against those whom we perceive as “other.”

Home, therefore, can carry with it a wide range of both positive and negative associations. Home shapes and forms us in ways of which we are both aware and unaware.

In today’s first reading, Gods bids Abram to leave home –- to leave the safe and familiar and identifying shelter of his “father’s house” and to set out toward a destination yet to be identified, toward “the land that I will show you.” To be sure, Abram did not sally forth without family and “all the possessions that they had gathered.” He did not set out free of all that he had acquired –- all that had shaped and formed him. He took his past with him, into a future yet to be determined by the divine imagination of the One who called him forth. Trusting in the Voice who had called, Abram went, as he was bidden.

A willingness to leave home has been a characteristic of genuine faith and authentic discipleship down through the ages –- home understood not only as place but as attitudes and perceptions as well.

Now, the well-schooled ECUSA-watcher will know where Frank is going with this so I won’t bore you. But there is a delicious irony here. Frank preaches on the need to “leave home” on the eve of the meeting where he will, in no uncertain terms be told to go home.

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