Monday, June 12, 2017

Wonder Under the Oaks

There in the shade of the open oak grove, the Ancient One had pitched his tent. Beneath the shadow of the awning, Abraham sat (on his front-porch as it were) to catch the breeze through the trees, and to catch pilgrims, refugees, and travelers along the road to shoot the breeze with. Did he cat-nap because of the closeness of the heat? Did he nod-off as those of us full in years sometimes do? Or did the three people standing before right there before him appear from out of heaven?

Did they look somehow "familiar" to him? Were they dressed like locals, or in exotic foreign garb? What messages did he interpret from their accents and mannerisms? Were they covered with road-dust or were their robes shining white?

He jumped up before they could walk on by: "Friends, please do me a great favor and stop and rest a spell in my shady woods! I've water to wash your road-weary feet. I've bread to nourish you for your travel. Share my peace and recover your strength before you move on. You are in my home and are now family."

"That's a wonderful offer," they said.

He ran inside the spacious tent to seek help from his wife Sarah. Less ancient than the Ancient One, she was nevertheless far on in years herself. Her husband asked her to make cakes for their visitors with the flour set-aside for company; "not the weevily stuff!"

Spryly, the old man ran to his herd to select the best yearling to be killed, butchered, and cooked. He grabbed some homemade cheese and some fresh milk as an appetizer while they waited for the beef to be prepared - the light snack was becoming a feast for long lost friends, a reunion with prodigal family, a blessing of hospitality to strangers. As they sat beneath the trees, he stood to the side to better serve their needs.

They said, "Abraham, where's Sarah?"

"She's inside baking a pie." (Because I like pie a lot, I assume God does too.)

They replied quite matter-of-factly, "I will return when time is ripe, and your wife will have a son." They heard a snort, the sound of involuntary laughter unsuccessfully being stifled; at first a giggle, then a guffaw, then a bladder-threatening full-on belly-laugh. From within the tent, they could hear salty Sarah talking to herself (like we do sometimes). "That old coot hasn't been able to please me in years! I'm old, and he is even older. Now, after all these years, I'll have some pleasure?" Abraham's ears had grown quite incredibly inhumanly red, and he found his feet extremely fascinating all of a sudden and stared at them quite intently.

God paused (to gather themselves?). I am sure that smiles, openly or discreetly, could be seen on their faces at Sarah's earthiness and poor Abraham's chagrin. These were their favorite people, and this was a moment to cherish with them; so, God teased Abraham: "Why does Sarah laugh so hard? Can anything be too wonderful for the Lord to do? I will return when time is ripe, and your wife will have a son!"

From the tent they heard: "I did NOT laugh!"

And now, it was God's turn to be overcome by laughter as they said: "Oh yes you did!"

Genesis 18

(photography by tiwago)

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