Our congregation is reading the bible through together this year. In our bible reading for this week, we read the story of Sarai and Hagar, which is told in Genesis chapter 16. The story resonated with me, because it is about seeing and being seen, truly seen, and “seeing” is my word for 2021. “Seeing” in a spiritual sense. That is, seeing the Holy in all things, and others seeing Jesus through my lived life. I admitted to my congregation last Sunday, that I could use a do-over in 2021 on both of these points.
Hagar, an Egyptian slave woman who served Sarai, was given by Sarai as a sexual slave to Abram, Sarai’s husband. Hagar had no say in the matter. When Hagar became pregnant by Abram, the conflict between the two women became intense, and Sarai’s abuse of Hagar became unbearable for Hagar. So, she fled, and in her deep wilderness the Divine speaks to her, at least that is what Genesis 16:13 implies (verses prior state that the Lord’s Messenger spoke to her). If the Divine spoke directly to her, this is only one of three instances recorded where the Divine speaks directly to a woman (Eve in Genesis 1:16 and Rebekah in Genesis 25:23). Because of the Divine words of encouragement spoken to Hagar, she felt she had been truly seen, so much so, that she named the Divine “El Roi,” which means “the God who sees.” In fact, she, a woman, is the first person in the Bible to name the Divine!
I love Haiku poems and thought I might try my hand at composing some throughout this year. The following Haiku is inspired by Hagar’s story:
The wilderness calls
to name what’s Holy in life
to see and be seen
Thoughts for meditation:
What wilderness have you been living through, and from which you need to be delivered?
Who, in your life, truly sees you for who you are? How does that make you feel?
How has the Divine been seeking you in your wilderness?
How might you notice (see) the Divine going forward?
Consider keeping a journal this year of those times when the you "see" the Divine.