Daily Meditation: "Tangible"
Wednesday, August 26, 2020
Jacob charged them, saying, “Bury me with my ancestors – in the cave in the field of Ephron the Hittite, in the cave in the field at Machpelah, near Mamre, in the land of Canaan, in the field that Abraham bought from Ephron the Hittite as a burial site. There Abraham and his wife Sarah were buried; there Isaac and his wife Rebekah were buried, and there I buried Leah.” - Genesis 49:29-31
Boy, this passage from Genesis is pretty specific! In fact, you can go and visit the site today: The Tomb (or cave) of the Patriarchs in the old city of Hebron along the West Bank. No one in modern times has been all the way down into the caves themselves, though. What if someone went down there and instead of finding Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebekah, Leah and Jacob they found...well….nothing?
Geraldo Rivera and Al Capone’s vaults, anyone?
I think I will always have people ask me, “Did that really happen?” When it comes to specificity about people and events in our scripture, folks like to be able to verify chapters and verses with facts. Yep, there’s Noah’s Ark still up there on that mountain. Here’s Jesus’ burial shroud. Here’s a piece of the actual cross. Here are the bones of Ciaphas. It makes it “real” and the Bible “true.”
Yet, the primary substance of the Essence of God and what Jesus was trying to show us about God’s realm can’t be quantified like this. How do you Google Map Love? How do you quantify Grace? How do you develop a scientific equation to prove Forgiveness? People, places, and things are certainly found throughout our Bible, but are they really at the heart of our scripture? Is it all about them, or something they were trying to show us or teach us?
If facts are what keep us hooked to the “Truth” of our scripture, that can all fall apart in a second the next time we carbon date something or dig up another clay jar with an older scroll than the last one that says something different. Rather, if what keeps us connected and engaged is the pursuit of the intangibles that make Life worth living and better for everyone in tangible ways, maybe an empty cave or two won’t bug us too much.
I still feel bad for Geraldo, though.
Loving God, thank you for all the blessings, tangible and intangible, that you give us every day.