Dear HUCC Family,
Have you ever had an experience that changed your way of looking at the world, for good or for ill? Maybe you met someone with a different perspective who made you think twice. Maybe you had a child who helped you be less self-centered. Maybe you had a betrayal that made you more wary, or a faithful companion who helped you become more trusting. Maybe you had a hardship or an illness that left you bitter – or that showed you your own inner strength – or that made you thankful for the help of others. Maybe, on a day when you felt crabby and discouraged, an afternoon nap left you feeling refreshed and ready to go again.
This Sunday’s sermon looks at the life story of Hagar, the slave of Sarah and the mother of Abraham’s son Ishmael. Thrown out of Abraham’s house and left alone to fend for herself and her child, Hagar is ready to give up—until she has an experience of God’s presence. God saw Hagar, and Hagar saw God! Hagar is amazed. She can’t believe that someone like her would be noticed by God, whom she calls El Roi, which means “the God who sees me.” Renewed by this vision, Hagar is ready to go home and try again. Because of Hagar’s faithfulness, Ishmael survives and thrives and becomes the father of a long line of children, to whom today’s Muslims trace their ancestry.
I chose this scripture for this Sunday, because it is the theme text for the Kirchentag—a 4-day long gathering of Christians in Germany in which I’ll be participating next week. But I also chose it because I think there are lots of places in our lives that could use a second look, from a God’s-eye perspective. Join us in worship, as we consider Hagar’s story and our own stories. Then, in the days that follow, let’s each take a new look at our lives and our world. Let’s keep our eyes open for God who sees and loves us all. Who knows what stories we’ll have to tell when we see each other again?
God’s Peace to you,