Given By Rev. Madison Shockley on June 25, 2017
In our culture, there are men who have more than one family. Sometimes the first family is unaware of the existence of this other family. Most of the time, it is simply due to divorce. Fifty years ago, this would have been a source of shame and embarrassment. Now that shame is mostly gone. In the ancient Near East, it was a polygamous society. It was part of the culture to have many wives. The passage today speak of the relationship of Abraham and Sarah. During this period, the wife needed to bear children, especially a son to carry on the family name. Sarah was not able have children so she gave her slave, Hagar, to Abraham. In order to understand this, we must remember that in slavery, the master owns not only the slave but any offspring the slave has. Hagar bore Abraham a son, Ishmael. For a time, Ishmael was Abraham’s heir. Later, Sarah bore a son, Isaac. Since Sarah did not want Ishmael to inherit along with Isaac, she told Abraham to cast out Hagar and Ishmael. Reluctantly, Abraham did. As folklore tells it, Western culture follows the lineage of Isaac. According to folklore, God also made a great nation from Ishmael’s lineage, our Arab and Islamic brothers and sisters. In today’s society, these origin folklore lends itself to the plight of the Palestinians. As descendants of Ishmael, they are viewed as second class citizens. After 9-11, Arabs are viewed with fear. The narrative that was suppose to bring peace and harmony among a family of faiths turns into a hierarchy of faiths with Islam on the bottom. God loves all his/her children equally. All children are different. God wants us to seek and find him/her in our own way. God helps those who have been cast out, the poor, the undocumented, disenfranchised. Hear the cry of Hagar’s children.