Daily Lectionary Readings for Year A
In yesterday's lectionary reading, Sarah died. Go back and read the compassionate, empathetic response by the Hittites as Abraham seeks a burial place for his wife. Have you ever had to make arrangements at the time of death? It can be a time filled with emotion and exhaustion. In the depth of grief, you are being asked a thousand questions and expected to make a million decisions. What do you remember about that time? Were there some who honored your loss the way that the Hittites honored Abraham's love for Sarah?
Today, Abraham dies. "Abraham breathed his last and died in a good old age, an old man and full of years, and was gathered to his people." Both Ishmael and Isaac come together to bury their father. Sometimes these moments bring out the best in a family. And, sometimes the pressure and the pain makes being a family at the time of death difficult. It seems as though Ishmael and Isaac were doing their best to honor their father. They buried him with Sarah in the cave he purchased from the Hittites.
There is a flow to these stories of death. A pause in the routine of our daily life. We often stop, remember, honor, and praise God for a loved one. Looking back, you see so often God's hand in that person's life story. You take time to grieve what once was and is no more. During this last year, our family has walked this journey of death. My dad's sisters Pat and Juanita, his brother Dick, and sister-in-law Laurie died. My mom's sister Dorothy died, and her oldest and last sibling Lois is in hospice care at home in San Diego. They represent an entire generation that raised me up. And so, I join all who have come before, and stand at the edge of the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron son of Zohar the Hittite, east of Mamre, the field that Abraham purchased from the Hittites. Join me in this place. Let us think about those who have died. Together, let us stop, remember, honor, and praise God.
Tell someone how it feels remembering someone who has died. It is an honor and a privilege to be told those stories.