Monday, May 7, 2018

Call of Abram - Novella

Prologue: The call of Abram is recorded in Genesis 12, you can click here to read.  The call is surprisingly succinct with both God and Abram being short on details. It can also feel abrupt. If you look at chapter 11, you get a genealogy leading up to Abram, then the next word is God telling Abram to age seventy-five.  This makes me wonder, what happened between Genesis 11 and 12?  What happened between Abram's birth and age seventy-five?  Was this the first time Abram was introduced to God?  What stories might fill the small space in the Bible between these two chapters?  This is one amateur attempt to fill that gap.  

Part One

Abram licked his lips, in the cracked crevasses he could taste the small grits of sand that silently hid there. His mind was racing and reeling.  The voice seemed so clear telling him to, "Go".  But that inner critical voice with its constant running commentary was working overtime right now.  "You were just imagining it.  Besides, who do you think you are that the sacred would speak to you?"  Then, there was the matter of trying to find the words of what to say to his wife, Sarai.  He could hear her now, "So, let me get this straight, some voice tells us to go, and we are going to pick up our whole lives and leave behind everything we know.  And...and, we don't even know the exact destination we are heading?"
A single small step in a new direction can feel like a leap of faith.  And the forces of familiarity, comfort, the ruts and routines of life add other obstacles.  And then the people in our lives want to add their unsolicited advice.
But this voice had been there in Abram's head, heart, and soul for years.  Standing in the sea of sand that he had known for seventy-five years, sand he had breathed in, sand that was woven into his very soul; he recalled and remembered how the voice as a child began to steer him in certain ways.  When he first took the sheep out to graze, it was that voice that calmed the fear causing his heart to beat so loud it echoed in his ears.  When he first saw Sarai, it was the voice that gave him courage to swallow and find something to say.  When year after year, while others had children, and Abram had none, the voice spoke with a soothing tone.  The voice didn't solve his problems, but was a companion through them.
Up until now, the voice was subtle, speaking with soft verbs.  When Abram was out in the fields away from everyone else, it was the voice that would sing to him and keep him company.  When he lay away at night wrestling, tossing and turning, it was the voice that would help him see things that in the blinding, board daylight were too obscure.  The voice had always been there.
Yet, what did Abram really know about this voice?  The voice had never formally introduced it's origin.  The voice had never said, "Hi Abram, you might know me from such famous moments as crafting the stars over your head and flooding the earth centuries ago."  He wondered if others heard the voice too?  He had never asked.  Not that he hadn't started, but his parents seemed busy.  And when he and Sarai had moved from the awkward courting phase of their relationship to the stable, steady moments of knowing the sound of each other's breathing, the window of opportunity to ask seemed to close too quickly.
Perhaps, Abram didn't ask because he wanted to keep the voice to himself.  In this way, the voice was safe from other's opinions.  We all have secrets held in the corners of our souls, kept watch over by our own sense of vulnerability.  The voice seemed content to reside in that space, but now was clamoring to be let loose in Abram's life.  The voice wanted to turn everything upside down and inside out.  Leave behind what was known?  Let go of relationships with the relatives in the village?  This wasn't done.  Living in the hostile world, where you are never sure what waits over the next hill, you stay with your own kin.  And yes, the ties that bind us, sometimes gag or confine us.  Yes, Abram's uncles would say things that made his skin crawl.  Yes, the comments from his aunts about Sarai made his blood boil.  But leaving seemed overly drastic and dramatic and just wasn't done.
What was it with the voice?  Why would it nudge him out to the edge of what was known?  Why would it sing to him to end the world as he knew it?  Yet, somehow he felt fine.  There was a strange peace and warmed heart.
He had always wondered what was beyond that far horizons where his ancestors said the dragons lurked and lived.  After all, if there where dragons and monsters out there, what prevented them from storming into their small camp someday?  Besides the voice seemed to have a different perspective about the beauty of the world.
Abram felt peace as he faced the most radical move he had ever made.
Abram felt strength even as he knew others would not understand.
Abram felt called, blessed that he had to share.
But what would he say to Sarai?
He found himself standing outside the tent they had shared for many years.  The laughter was woven into the fabric.  The smell of meals shared lingered.  Even has his fingers touched the flap, he felt the surge like when he had first laid eyes on her.  Strange how life can cycle back around on itself.  Feelings you thought dormant awaken in fresh ways.  Even as his feet felt heavier than ever, he knew what he had to do.

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