Isaac is about one year old, and they plan to have a celebration. Up to this point in the story we only hear of Abraham talking with God or other people. Now we hear from Sarah, and it is not pretty. Read this out loud: “Drive out that slave and her son! No son of that slave is going to share the inheritance with my son Isaac!” Just saying the words, you can feel the anger that Sarah felt. She was so full of resentment she could not even call Hagar by name but now demean her by calling her a slave. Ishmael, her son, suffered the same fate, the son of a slave woman. Her resentment, her anger, caused her to humiliate another person.
There will always be people in our lives with whom we will disagree. And that is OK, we do not all have to disagree. It is when we allow our emotions to take control of our lives that sin enters in. And then, rather than having dialogue to discuss our differences, we begin to demean or dehumanize one another. Labeling other people puts us in a position of power or of authority. To which we have neither. And allowing our emotions to grow in anger and hatred will lead to demonizing the other person. We see this happening all the time in our culture today.
Back to our story with Abraham, his first son was named Ishmael and his mother’s name is Hagar. And in Genesis we are told that God would make a great nation from Ishmael, too. But it is from Isaac that would come the nation chosen by God. The three great religions all from Abraham: Jewish, Islam, and Christianity. Since Abraham it has been at least three thousand five hundred years. Are we any closer to dialogue?
May the Lord bless you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen