“Abram went as the Lord directed him.”
Most people, even in our modern age, don’t move very far from the place where they were raised. There is a certain security in having family nearby and living in familiar territory. Such was even more the case for many peoples in ancient times who sought to live under the protection of their gods which were often associated with territories. Still, people were on the go even in ancient times. Armies marched to war in foreign countries. Merchants travelled extensively. Nomads and shepherds moved from place to place seeking greener pastures. In such instances, people often had household gods symbolized by statues which they brought with them for personal protection.
Abram (before he became “Abraham”) was one of those nomad peoples, used to travelling from place to place. What makes this journey in our first reading this weekend different is that Abram does it at the behest of Yahweh, a god unknown to him beforehand. God seems to have appeared to him “out of the blue” and invited him to go on this journey to an unknown land, and Abram goes as he is directed. He is placing his belief and trust in this unknown god who has appeared to him, making these incredible promises of blessings, especially with regards to a multitude of posterity. What is significant is that Abram puts his faith and trust in Yahweh for this, even though he is already 75 years of age, and his wife Sarah is only a few years younger, and well beyond the prospect of becoming pregnant.
This story relates to the gospel for this weekend, the gospel of the transfiguration of Jesus, in the acceptance of God’s guidance into the unknown paths of life which lie ahead of us. We are given this story of the transfiguration every Lent on the second weekend, to remind us that, no matter what befalls us, we can rest assured that Christ is Lord, and totally in control of our circumstances. We are invited during Lent to make the same journey of faith and trust in Jesus, that Abram makes in Yahweh.