We had a great Sunday kick-off to the new sermon series last weekend. Both Pastor Jenn and I made the same three points about how God is present in our often challenging family relationships. If you missed worship, catch it here. The three point summary is this:
- God can function despite dysfunction
- God blesses in the midst of messes
- God’s drama transcends our trauma
My shorthand for all of this was “God can bless up your mess up!” And things get pretty messy this week in Abraham’s family. Read Genesis 16 to see what we mean. When Sarah, Abraham’s wife, is unable to conceive, she “gives” her slave girl/maid, Hagar, to him. Hagar gets pregnant and apparently starts to cop an attitude with Sarah, who first complains to Abraham and then promptly sends Hagar packing. Hagar ends up returning to the family with an improved attitude, and the first son born to Abraham is named Ishmael. For obvious reasons, the sermon title this week is “Three’s a Crowd!”
The challenge to family health we confront this week is “triangulation.” Not all triangulation is bad. The Swiss psychiatrist, Dr. Ernest L. Abelin, presented results of his studies in 1971 about early triangulation in children as a necessary step in the development of mental ability. Children must be “lured away” from the earliest caregiver, usually the mother, in order to build new relationships. But the triangulation we are going to focus on is the kind that happens all too frequently in our families, when “sides” are chosen, secrets are kept, and animosities build because of the avoidance of direct interaction. Emotional triangles are among the most difficult aspects of relationships. Those of you who saw “Big Fish” will recall how the mother easily could have been caught in a triangulation between her husband and son. But her love and encouragement for both of them prevented any taking of sides or building of allies.
Pastor Jenn and I look forward to seeing you on Sunday. Until then, just remember it’s not STLUKE’S (family) without U!
P.S. Bring your Bible to worship this Sunday and every Sunday in this series so you can follow along in Genesis.
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