Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Co-existence with Other Communities
Gen 23:1-20

No, my lord, hear me, I give you the field, and I give you the cave that is in it; in the presence of my people I give it to you; bury your dead (Gen 23:11).
1. An Inclusive Space for the Landless: When we place this text in the exilic context, the repetitive burial language means a lot. This passage addresses the issue of the exiles' having to bury their dead outside of the land and their interest in having a special burial place in both exile and Canaan. Israelites may have understood burial places in Canaan in terms of the land as an everlasting possession. This text shows that Abraham comes by the land on terms that were both legal and fair, and hence should be honored by future generations. This text challenges the attitude we have towards the thousands of people who are made to leave their own homeland and are made refuges in a foreign land. Are we able to provide a space for them within our hearts, at least to spend a few minutes praying for them? When God created the whole world, everything was at its right order. We are to introspect if our greed and attitudes have made this world more of an inclusive or an exclusive space.
2. An Agent of the Divine Hope: This particular incident in the life of Abraham again and again shows that God works through humans for His divine purposes. The purchase of land provides a symbol of hope, a concrete anticipation of what God has in store for those who trust in the promises. It was God working through the lives of the Hittites. We see Abraham in the incident identifies himself as a lowly outsider without property rights. But then the Hittites immediately recognize and acknowledge his reputation and calls him as "mighty prince" v. 6. The Hittites openly receive Abraham's general request for a burial place v. 4; in fact, they offer him the pick of available tombs v. 6. Let us have an attitude like the Hittites to be ever ready to be the human agent of God's Divine purpose on earth.
Dear Lord, help,us to be Your agents in the society, by transforming lives through engagements of hope that is in Your promise. In Jesus Christ's name we pray, Amen.

If there is space in the heart there will be space in the home.
Christian Education Forum, Diocese of NAE of the Mar Thoma Church