Second Sunday in Lent- 5th March

‘and I will bless you..’

Gen 12:1-4 Ps 32 2Tim 1:8-10 Mt 17:1-9

In a major test of commitment God demands a great deal of Abraham (or Abram as he is called at this stage of his career: changing names is a characteristic of God’s dealing with significant human beings). He is to abandon his people and his home and his way of life to go to “the land I will show you”. God doesn’t even specify where he is sending Abraham, but he does assure him that he will make his name a blessing. As with so many biblical characters we have no idea why God chooses the people God chooses, we know nothing of what qualities they have, but the significance is that they are chosen and accept the challenge presented.

For all Christians there is that element of being called and chosen and being asked to show faith in concrete ways. God does not choose to explain or reveal the plan, or to give a written contract. So the call can be ducked, the choosing be ignored and the asking to show faith be denied – God respects human free will, because of course, God seeks not simply obedience but love. When the call is responded to, for those who answer, like Abraham, there is a blessing. The disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration have no idea what they have stumbled on, or what it means, but they recognise the blessing that it is. As Paul makes clear, this is not simply about some “happy” future but about a reality already given: “This grace had been granted to us . . . before the beginning of time.” God invites his people to live now, in this time of blessing.