In Genesis 12.1, God utters a first word to Abram that will change human history, launch three major world religious movements, and give insight into the character and nature of the relationship our Creator intends to share with us.
All that in a single word: go.
After a few more brief words of explanation, including a request to leave family, home – everything - we read three verses later the response to this ludicrous request: “So Abram went.”
There you have it. Millennia later we are dealing with the same God, who has the same proclivity: searching for partners willing to hear the call to go, whose own story becomes “and so they went.”
Genesis 12 finds us at the close of one of the most dramatic and powerful episodes in the biblical narrative: Creation, which ends in some completel edenic paradise, followed by: Adam and Eve reminding us we can disturb the relationship we had with the Creator; Cain and Abel showing us we can destroy relationships within our family structure; the Tower of Babel reminding us we can destroy relationship with neighboring peoples; and the great flood reminding us we can destroy the entire planet. This is the cost of human desire when it is placed above the call to love God or love neighbor. Our actions have consequences.
So, how does the Shalom God created and that God intended get restored? Not by the whimsical, powerful hand of a magical God who waves another want and ‘poof!’, all is better – but in partnership with those whom God’s hands have fashioned.
Abram is but the first to hear the call and go. Not all who heard it would be so quick to trust God’s call: Moses cried he was too slow of speech; Jeremiah claimed he was too young; Mary said she was but a handmaiden. Jonah said yes, until he found out what was being asked of him, didn’t like it, and tried to hide from God and from the sending. That didn’t work out so well for him.
What we learn is this: God is going to call and expect a going. Also, the going has a purpose, and the yes, even the hard yes (like Abram and Saria’s) – no, especially the hard yes – have reasons sometimes only God can see.
But here’s the thing: every yes will change a life, or lives, or communities, or the world.
The partnership is about nothing less than God, having created us and endowed us with gifts and talents and passions and skills and experiences, saying “I can use those here.”
Sometimes the go sends us to far away places, like mission partners who agree to go to China or Palestine or Colombia and serve. Sometimes the call sends us across the street to a lonely neighbor. Sometimes it sends us to hospital rooms, jail cells, or the living rooms of depressed friends. Sometimes it asks us to uproot our families and go – as happens every time a pastor is called to serve a church or a rabbi a synagogue.
If you relate at all to the God Abram came to trust, then you have been called to go. And your yes became a grace or a comfort or a solace or a corrective or an insight that mattered to someone.
Stay in touch with your Creator. She just might need you. She is building Shalom – and you can help. Your travels on this earthly coil matter, and somewhere along the way something will be required of you on this, your journey Into the Mystic.