Guest Preacher

John Riches preached about Lambeth as part of his sermon on Sunday. He was preaching on Genesis 18: 1-15.

Here is what he said:

‘And the Lord appeared to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the door of his tent in the heat of the day.’

Surely this is one of the great archaic stories of the ancient world, of the world of theOld Testament, of the world of Eastern orthodoxy, familiar to us in the Andrei Rubev’s great icon of the Trinity, the three angels seated round the table.

The story operates on different levels: it is the story of Abraham’s hospitality to three – unidentified – men who in the heat of the mid-day sun are travelling past his tent, at Mamre, some few kilometres north of Hebron in the Judaean hills. Abraham runs to meet them, to call them in, (why? does he know it’s the Lord or are they people he needs to keep in with? – we are not told) and offers them bread and water. They accept this offering but then Abraham orders Sarah to bake cakes and himself kills the fatted calf and waits on them at table.

The men get straight to the point with – unexplained – insight into Abraham’s situation: the barren and aged Sarah, they predict, will have a son. Sarah’s derisive response to this announcement lacks delicacy: ‘After I have grown old, and my husband is old, shall I have pleasure?’ [Read more…]