Genesis 18: 1-15

New Resources

Illustrated Resources from 2016 to 2019

  • Proper 6A (2017)

    by Doug Bratt
    In his remarkable book, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales, Oliver Sacks writes about Jimmie, who remains forever stuck in 1945. Jimmie is a likeable person with whom you can have a nice chat. But if you leave the room after even a two-hour conversation and then return a little later, he’ll greet you as if he’s never met you. This vacuum locks Jimmie into a fluid but finally meaningless present moment. Without anything to look back on and or look forward to, joy is simply impossible for him. But Sacks says there is one time when Jimmie shows something like joy, when something that looks like wholeness and calmness replaces the vacant look on his face. That’s when he receives the Eucharist.
  • When Faith Turns a Smirk into a Smile

    by D. Leslie Hollon
    Laurens Vander Post, a South African explorer who lived among the Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert, realized that they would only tell “their stories” to him after months of living in their midst. First, they had to trust him. For to them, their stories possessed the secrets of their soul. To tell their stories was to risk their lives. If an enemy came to possess their stories, they would be destroyed. Like them, most of us are only willing to tell our personal stories to people we believe are trustworthy. We want people to laugh with us, not at us. We don’t want our stories to be distorted and spread around for others to trample upon. We are vulnerable as we share our stories.
  • This Is Your Life: Abraham

    Narrative Sermon by Jim McCrea
  • Unexpected Visitors

    Art and Faith by Lynn Miller
    A second "unexpected" depiction of the story is that by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo. The part of the reading from Genesis 21 includes Sarah's overhearing the visitors' assertion that she and Abraham will be parents, even at their advanced age. In response to this announcement, Sarah laughs. (Remember, it is that laughter that will give Isaac his name.) Sarah's laughter is overheard, and one of the visitors confronts her.
  • Beneath the Trees

    by Jemonde Taylor
    Trees have been and continue to be important in Christians’ worship and spiritual lives. Some enslaved African Americans in the 1800s met to worship God under a canopy of trees commonly called brush arbors or hush harbors.[1] The faithful practiced Christianity in this holy and hidden manner. Many historically African American churches today trace their founding to believers gathering to worship God under these brush arbors. Today in Ethiopia, some Orthodox Christians worship God within “church forests.” Churches or monasteries sit in the center of a forest that ranges in size from five to a thousand acres. The clergy and laity believe the tree canopy shading them prevents prayers from being lost to the sky. Some of these churches are more than 1,500 years old...

Illustrated Resources from the Archives

  • Is Anything Too Wonderful for the Lord?

    by Richard Donovan
    I read about Dodie Gadient, a schoolteacher, who decided to travel across America. She wanted to see all the things about which she had been teaching. On her trip, she drove a truck and pulled a camper. One afternoon, she was driving on Interstate 5 near Sacramento in rush-hour traffic. As she rounded a curve, her water pump blew. She was tired, scared, and alone. Traffic backed up behind her, but no one stopped. Leaning against the trailer, she prayed, "Please God, send me an angel…, preferably one with mechanical experience." Within minutes, a huge man on a big Harley stopped. He had long, black hair, a beard, and tattooed arms. His black leather jacket proclaimed "Hell's Angels—California." He jumped off his cycle. Without even glancing at Dodie, he started to work. Then he flagged down a larger truck, attached a tow chain, and whisked the whole rig off the freeway onto a side street where he could continue to work undisturbed. Dodie was too dumbfounded to talk. As the man finished the repair, she found the courage to say thanks and to carry on a brief conversation. The man saw that she was frightened. He looked her in the eye and said, "Don't judge a book by its cover. You may not know who you're talking to." With that, he smiled, closed the hood of the truck, and straddled his Harley. With a wave, he was gone as fast as he had appeared...
  • For Laughing Out Loud!

    by Arthur Ferry, Jr.
  • No Other Plan

    by David Martyn
    Once upon a time, long long ago, before time even began God had a plan. It was to create a world, a beautiful place, with mountains and oceans, rivers and valleys, and right in the middle a garden. And there would be animals: bunny rabbits and elephants, puppy dogs and mountain lions. There would be birds: eagles and robins, hawks and chickadees. There would be sea creatures: blue whales and rainbow trout, dolphins and starfish. And, last but certainly not least, God was going to create human beings and they would all live in peace and harmony in this wonderful garden. Well, as you know, something happened and the angels came to God and said “God, we think you goofed. That world you have created is a mess. The animals don’t get along and the people are always fighting with each other.” “Oh,” said God. And God thought for a bit and said, “I have a plan. I am going to find one family that doesn’t fight and get them to build a boat, then they and two over every animals will get in the boat, there will be a flood that will wash it all clean and they can start all over again.” “Good plan,” said the angels and that is what God did. Well it wasn’t too long and the whole world was a mess again...
  • The Last Laugh

    by James McCrea
  • Proper 6A

    by Bob Morrison
    Just a week ago Thursday, in the fabled cloisters of Harvard, J.K. Rowling, the author of the wonderful “Harry Potter” series of books, spoke out at the commencement exercises about the importance of imagination. Rowling urged the Harvard grads to use their influence and status to speak out on behalf of the powerless. After talking about how she found herself at a very low ebb after college, and how she thought of herself as a failure, she went on to say, “You might think that I chose my second theme, the importance of imagination, because of the part it played in rebuilding my life, but that is not wholly so. Though I will defend the value of bedtime stories to my last gasp, I have learned to value imagination in a much broader sense. Imagination is not only the uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not, and therefore the fount of all invention and innovation. In its arguably most transformative and revelatory capacity, it is the power that enables us to empathise with humans whose experiences we have never shared. “We do not need magic to transform the world,” said Rowling. “We carry all the power we need inside ourselves already; we have the power to imagine better.”
  • Is Anything Too Wonderful?

    by Michael Phillips
    ("An older doctor was ready to retire, and hired a young doctor to assist him in his practice, take care of long established patients, and prepare him to assume his practice at the time of the older doctor's retirement....")
  • While We Were Yet Sinners

    by Michael Phillips
  • Something Too Wonderful

    by Barry Robinson
  • Laughing with Sarah

    by Byron Shafer
  • The God Who Laughs

    by Martin Singley
  • A Laughing Matter

    by Alex Stevenson
  • Leavening the World

    by Carl Wilton
    ("So, why does Jesus choose this metaphor of yeast for teaching about the kingdom of God? Several reasons… First of all, yeast is invisible. That little lump of dough from yesterday's baking you throw into today's batch doesn't look any different from the fresh dough — but if you forget to fold it in, your bread will never rise. Matthew passes on to us a very interesting word, a word Jesus himself probably used. The word is enkrypto, to hide away...")
  • Images of Abraham and the Angels

    Compiled by Jenee Woodard
  • Movies/Scenes Representing Covenant

    Compiled by Jenee Woodard

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