The Importance of Abraham

A Message from Rev. Maya Landell

Dear Friends,

This week we have a teaching about the importance of Abraham to the three major monotheistic religions of the world – Christianity, Judaism and Islam, which are said to be Abrahamic religions. As our Scriptural story says, Abraham is seen as the father of nations.

Muslims trace their connection to Abraham through Ishmael, the son of Abraham and Hagar, who is said to have founded the Arab nation from which the Prophet Mohammed descended. For Muslims, Abraham is a vivid presence in the Koran, their scripture, and a major figure in Muslim religious practice – including the most important Islamic feast day. When they discuss the binding of Isaac, Muslims see it as symbolizing total surrender to God, and commemorate it in the Feast of the Sacrifice, the final rite of the hajj pilgrimage to Mecca.

For Jewish people, Abraham is the founding father of the nation of Israel. At the end of the chapter you may have noticed a chart showing the songs of Jacob, Abraham’s grandson. The Israelite people were divided into twelve tribes and each tribe was named for, and traditionally thought to originate from, one of Jacob’s sons. Each of the 12 tribes could trace their roots back to Abraham. Also, we will discuss more when we get to Moses and Joshua, but the idea of the promised land for the Israelite people and their Jewish descendants comes from the covenant God makes with Abraham.

For Christians, Abraham is important because Jesus, as a Jew, is a child of Abraham. Jesus was a member of the tribe of Judah. The Gospel of Matthew traces the genealogy of Jesus all the way back to Abraham. It begins with “a record of the ancestors of Jesus Christ, son of David, son of Abraham” (Matthew 1:1)

This story calls us to all our relations, who number as many as the stars in the sky and the grains of sand in the desert.

Bless you as you find your story in God’s story.

See you Sunday,
Rev. Maya