Since about Easter Jill and I have been reading a book together. That might seem a long time to read a book, but it is divided into chapters designed to be read one each month. We have been unusually disciplined in our reading, not jumping ahead or trying to read the end so that we know where it is going. This is because each chapter describes a walk highlighting what the authors saw, and what we might be looking out for on our walks. It forms a series of gentle reflections on what we see of God in Creation around us, and how we perhaps need to slow down in our headlong rush through life to see the sheer wonder of God’s creativity.
We are learning to be happy in, and treasure, the world God has made.
I have come away from the book with one word going round in my head, Hineni, but more of that as we get into the readings!
‘Soulful Nature’ by Brian Draper and Howard Green (published by Canterbury Press) is an excellent book to read, and also makes a thoughtful Christmas present for a friend who enjoys walking.
vv 1-2. Some time later, God tested Abraham’s faith. “Abraham!” God called. “Yes,” he replied “Here I am”, “Take your son, your only son—yes, Isaac, whom you love so much—and go to the land of Moriah. Go and sacrifice him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains, which I will show you.”
The word I have been reflecting on, Hineni, comes in this reading and is translated as “Here I am.”
Recently I found myself in a shop waiting for Jill to be served. The shop assistant was clearly unhappy in her job and seemed to resent having to serve people. If looks could kill then all her customers would have died! If asked, she might well have said “Yes, here I am.” but she was not willingly present. Her responses were curt, perhaps like the brief ’Here’ of an unwilling pupil answering the morning register at school.
Abraham’s “Here I am” was the response of a willing listener, and then a participant in the action God was preparing for him. This was no grudging “OK God, what on earth do you want now?” Here was a man present in a moment of testing, and with his heart already inclined to respond in obedience.
What challenge is God inviting you to be present in today? Don’t just take this reading, and then absent yourself from responsive action. Whatever God calls you into today set out determined to say ‘Here I am’.