The Apple Doesn't Fall Far from the Tree

I had a cousin who served in World War II with General Patton.  I know that because I was told frequently.  I joked at his funeral that I thought his name was, "Cousin Paul, who served with General Patton."

I don't think it was just the celebrity that caused people to introduce him that way.  I think it was the history, the service, the uniqueness of having first-hand knowledge of a such a renowned general.  It became part of Cousin Paul's lore.

It would be easy to treat our scriptures like other books: read them, move on to newer works.  If we did that, we'd not only miss the gift of new insight and depth of understanding that comes with subsequent readings, we'd also lose our heritage, our family's lore.

Yes, the Abraham/Isaac/Jacob stories are familiar to those who have read Genesis.  They might be the most familiar stories of the Bible, as many make an attempt to read the Bible begin (repeatedly) in Genesis, losing steam somewhere in Exodus.  Still, familiarity need not breed contempt.

These are our people and these stories are as much about us as they are about them.  Like ours, Abraham's faith proved shaky at times.  As can happen, Isaac's obvious preference for one son over another led to major family rivalry.  Isaac's insecurities, not the least of which was that his father preferred his brother, hastened less than noble actions.

In the coming weeks the Old Testament readings will remind us of our ancestors, stories that might be familiar to us, but rather than roll our eyes at hearing them one more time, we might open our ears.  Let's listen for what word there is for us.  The word be that "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree, even if the tree is now 3000 years old."  Knowing our story includes both curse and blessing can help us be both cautious and grateful.