This blog continues to supply a daily meditation on the book of Genesis and the Gospel of Mark. The headline is a reminder of the world.
PROTESTS IN TURKEY AGAINST ISLAMICISATION OF EDUCATION
Now YHWH took account of Sarah as he had said,
YHWH dealt with Sara as he had spoken.
Sara became pregnant and bore Avraham a son in his old age,
at the set-time of which God had spoken to him.
And Avraham called the name of the son, who was born to him, whom Sara bore to him;
Yitzhak / He Laughs.
And Avraham circumcised Yitzhak his son at eight days old as God had commanded him.
And Avraham was a hundred years old when Yitzhak his son was born to him.
Now Sara said:
God has made laughter for me,
all who hear it will laugh for me.
And she said:
Who would have declared to Avraham:
Sara shall nurse sons?
Well I have borne him a son in his old age!
The child grew and was weaned,
and Avraham made a great drinking-feast on the day that Yitzhak was weaned.
The author emphasises that YHWH plays his promised part and Avraham fulfils his duties to his child, but the scene belongs to Sara who remembers her laughter at the very idea she should have pleasure in sex at her age, with a husband Avraham’s age, and should become pregnant. She now positively bubbles with the joy of a woman saved from the reproach of childlessness and able to bear a child for her husband “in his old age”.(a gentle dig at her old man)
“God has made laughter for me” is a great utterance, punning on the name of her child, but also noting the nature of God’s goodness; in Wordsworth’s words, she is “surprised by joy”. Again, as often in Genesis, we should see that there is no special religious sphere of contact with God, whose goodness is experienced in the fullness and strength of earthly existence as well as in its trials.
This is an important moment in the unfolding story of God and his creatures, as God has been true to his unlikely promise that through Avraham’s direct descendants, he/she will bless all people. God has come through with the goodies and the audience waits with heightened expectation to see what the next stage may be.
28 And when he was entered into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could we not cast him out?
29 And he said to them, This kind can go out by nothing but by prayer and fasting.
30 And going forth from there they went through Galilee; and he did not want anyone to know of it;
31 for he taught his disciples and said to them, The Son of man is delivered into men’s hands, and they shall kill him; and having been killed, after three days he shall rise again.
32 But they did not understood the saying, and feared to ask him.
Jesus’ answer to his disciples’ question conveys another insight of Mark into Jesus’ ministry. He does not pray and fast to obtain God’s goodness but to discipline himself to trust and to use God’s goodness. That same discipline is to ne made very evident in the journey of Jesus to his death which occupies the rest of this Gospel. He tries repeatedly to warn his disciples of the way he must go into failure and death, but they are unable to “hear” what he has heard through his prayer and fasting and is ready to obey. The “successful” ministry of healing can only he carried out by the one who is ready to be “unsuccessful” and despised.
It is a fact that the most able people I have met are those who have made or have been ready to make the greatest sacrifices.