In recent days of interfaith cooperation and understanding, the story of Abraham is a great inspiration for those who want to become more acquainted with our religious extended family. Abraham is seen as the father of three of the world’s enduring religions: Judaism and Christianity, through the son promised in our reading, and Islam, through another son born to Sarah’s slave girl, Hagar. When we compare the biblical account and the quranic account of these two sons, we will notice one common theme: the blessings of God on both sons and their descendants. God promises to richly bless both Isaac and Ishmael. Both will be the fathers of great nations.
Sadly, many of their descendants have fought one another for the exclusive rights to those promises, and the claim to those rights has become the source of great violence and hatred. But, if seen differently, perhaps Jews, Christians and Muslims can come to see that these shared blessings can become a source of unity and friendship.
God blessed both sons and their descendants. Perhaps we can extend a hand of welcome and friendship to our brothers and sisters of other faiths and help God make those promises a reality.
God of Abraham, Isaac and Ishmael, help us to see your promised blessings in our three religions. May those blessings be a source of friendship and peace. Amen. — RCW