Sunday, June 8, 2008

The First Pilgrimage in the Jewish-Christian Tradition: "Go from your country"



Today's Old Testament/Hebrew Scripture in the Revised Lectionary was from Genesis 12:1-3, in which the passage was the following: Yahweh said to Abram, "Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. I will of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed."

This is the first pilgrimage narrative that establishes the practice of pilgrimage for the Jewish and Christian communities of faith. And it is wonderful and scary. Let me begin with the scary: the call of faith that Abram follows-through with, moving forward and leaving the known home and the land he knows so well, with Sarai, unto the unknown. There were no hotels or private Albergues or Refugios: only nomad meeting nomad.

The wonderful part? That Abram and Sarai did move forward, and did depend upon God, and God did deliver. God delivers, lives up to God's promise, meaning that we don't have to be "God" on our pilgrimages. God will provide.

Buen camino!

Pilgrim peace,

Brett

2 comments:

Jim G said...

I especially like the context of the journey: "Go from your country, your kindred, and your father's house." I recall talking about this passage in EFM - the successive refinement of scope from country to people to family. It makes me wonder how well Abram was known through the region, given his prosperity and large herd. At any rate, the implicit transition is from the familiar to the less familiar, both for Abram and for those who would know him. He is leaving those who have an obligation to help him, those who might recognize him , even the places he might have visited or known by name. Abram's arrival reverses this sequence: he arrives with some of his family, then stops to build and altar, and then settles among the people.

A great turn of phrase, rich in meaning.

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