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Speaking to the Soul: Abraham’s Weakness and Strength

Speaking to the Soul: Abraham’s Weakness and Strength

Week of Proper 7, Year Two

[Go to Mission St Clare for an online version of the Daily Office including today’s scripture readings.]

Today’s Readings for the Daily Office:

Psalms 101, 109:1-4(5-19)20-30 (morning) // 119:121-144 (evening)

Numbers 16:36-50

Romans 4:13-25

Matthew 20:1-16

My college choir director taught all of his choir members a powerful spiritual lesson using our own breath. When singing a long phrase, it’s very tempting to let the last notes fade or fizzle out with the last of our breath support, but our choir director often asked us to increase our volume at the end of phrases or long notes. Instead of letting a note die as our breath ran out, we were supposed to resist that death and to fill our last notes with even greater life, energy, and volume.

As a man of deep Christian faith, our choir directed wanted our music to reflect the power of the resurrection working against the forces of death. Our second reading this morning contains the same lesson about Abraham: In this passage from Romans, Paul writes that Abraham “did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was already as good as dead (for he was about a hundred years old).” Considering his own fading and tiring body, Abraham easily could have succumbed to weakness and death before his time.

However, Paul tells us that in Abraham’s case, “No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, being fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.” Just when his body was weakening and failing, Abraham was able to deepen his trust and to strengthen his faith.

No matter how close we are to one hundred years old, we face a choice each day between the forces of weakness and death and the promise of trust and strength. How can our lives today reflect deeper trust and greater strength, even when our physical vitality, relationships, hopes, and dreams seem to be fading? May we find moments to deepen our trust and strengthen our faith today.

Lora Walsh blogs about taking risks and seeking grace at A Daily Scandal. She serves as Priest Associate of Grace Episcopal Church in Siloam Springs and assists with adult formation and campus ministry at St. Paul’s in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

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