Seven Churches in South Oxfordshire

Sermon – Lies



(Genesis 12:10-20)

We travelled with the promises of God ringing in my head
The children cried for joy at the sight of Canaan, but we drew away
When those who were before us drew their swords.
Hunger drove us on out of the sanctuary of the wilderness
Thirst drove us down to beg for water at the Nile.
Did God bring us here to die? A wasted journey,
No space for strangers, no food, the sun
Blinding us as it set over Egypt, taking
Our faith into the darkness, our fires lighting the faces of Pharoah’s forces
And Sarah’s beauty was the only thing left to trade.
They would want her, not I, and I would die.
Afraid we, no I, whispered my dread
I would say later that God’s promise was at stake
But it was my fear that ran, laughing
“She is my sister!” into Pharoah’s court, with Sarah silent standing
Like a lamb. I saw them take her
To him like a piece of meat.
So we lived, and such relief outpoured
That tents were pitched and music played
The choicest calf was killed and we did eat.
The lie grew unseen beneath the skin
Of Egypt and his court, running under
Halls of grief and erupting sickness
Pain and dark malice as they
Hunted for a foreigner to blame.
The one they rushed to touch stood untouched.
The one they by my lie defiled stood clean
In white silence Sarah exposed their guilt, my shame
The finger turned with a summons
To a lie I could not explain.

We should all die, be fed to the Nile
For my word the whole of Pharoah did corrupt
In cowardice I gave away the one most precious to me
And she said nothing. It was through her we lived
By the promise of God, which Pharoah enfleshed.

Though he was unaware, his compassion was God’s grace.
Our freedom was commanded and we walked alive
Into the welcome anonymity of the wilderness
The children laughing at the camel’s heels where

Sarah rode head covered, but they still heard her tears.

And Abram, who is he?
The bringer of blessing,
the builder of a nation?
The chosen bearer of God’s promise?
And an itinerant who knows humiliation,
a deceiver walking slow in silent shame,
Coming last behind the herds, contemplating
A change of name.
©  Kevin G Davies 15/9/01