“Listen to me, you that pursue righteousness, you that seek the Lord. Look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the quarry from which you were dug. Look to Abraham your father and to Sarah who bore you; for he was but one when I called him, but I blessed him and made him many.” – Isaiah 51:1-2
Flint-knapping is the process by which a stone core is shaped into a hand axe or an arrowhead. A hard hammer stone is pounded into a more fragile rock, knocking off large chunks. Then another stone is used for pressure flaking, breaking off smaller shards until the edge is sharp and the tool is well-defined.
It’s amazing what archaeologists can learn even from those shards: how far a group of people ranged, who they traded with, what kind of work they did. All by looking to the rock, following those flakes back to their source.
Isaiah says it is the same with the children of Sarah and Abraham. Those who pursue righteousness and seek God can do no better than returning to the source to remember what their ancestors were made of:
Trust that led them out of their homeland. Hospitality that could entertain angels. Humor that allowed them to imagine the impossible. Faith that held back nothing from God. And if we’re honest, some deep flaws running through the stone as well.
We know, because we’re chips off the old block. We are the many born from the one. We are made of good stuff, both fragile and strong. Remember it, you who seek God, and be shaped for Love’s use.
You who raise up children of Abraham from stone, form us for your work. Amen.
Vince Amlin is co-pastor of Bethany UCC, Chicago, and co-planter of Gilead Church Chicago, forming now.