Mysterious trust

"Angel Statue" by Louise Docker from Sydney, Australia, via Wikimedia Commons

"Angel Statue" by Louise Docker from Sydney, Australia, via Wikimedia Commons


At one point in Gilead, John Ames shares a summary of a sermon given on the story of Hagar and Ishmael and compared it with the story of Abraham going off with son Issac to sacrifice him, as he thought God wanted him to do (p. 128–129). These are strange, mysterious and even troubling stories. In each case, Ames says, Abraham was being asked to sacrifice his sons. In each case, angels are sent to intervene and rescue the child.

There are many directions you can go with his sermon but Ames’ point is this –- we are often asked to send our beloved ones out into wildernesses of many kinds –- the school hallway, the college dorm, the new job or marriage. Or, I think of the elderly neighbor whose own children are long gone from his household but who walks his dog and enjoys the play of children outdoors in his path. He sees them grow and move farther into the wilderness of life.

Throughout the book we're reading this month, we hear Ames ruminating at his late stage of life.

What season of life do you find yourself?

Who or what are you being asked to send out into life’s wilderness?

What is it requiring of you spiritually?

We entrust our beloved ones to the care of others. We entrust them to God. I don’t have a fleshed out theology of angelic beings. But, I have found myself lately praying for angels to come to my children’s school and keep watch.