Friday 29 July 2016
"A challenging start"
1 Samuel 4:10-22
She named the boy Ichabod, saying, ‘The Glory has departed from Israel’ – because of the capture of the ark of God and the deaths of her father-inlaw and her husband. (verse 21)
First, a confession; when I think of the name Ichabod, the first person who comes to mind is Johnny Depp! He played Ichabod Crane in the film Sleepy Hollow (Tim Burton, 1999), a policeman who moves to a small village to investigate mysterious murders and who comes face to face with a terrifying Headless Horseman.
There are no American actors or directors in today’s Old Testament story but instead, one tiny boy, also called Ichabod, who has a very tough start in life. By the end of the story, his father, mother, uncle and grandfather are all dead. What a devastating start in life for this child. He is even given a negative-sounding name, meaning‘The glory of the Lord has departed’. Poor kid!
This reading made me reflect on family history. How much are we shaped by our upbringing, the values of our parents, the longrunning scripts of our community or society? Do we embrace them, reject them or strive to escape them?
The author Rick Riordan, creator of the Percy Jackson series of books, once wrote: ‘Families are messy… Sometimes the best we can do is to remind each other that we’re related for better or for worse … and try to keep the maiming and killing to a minimum.’
Does a bad start in life condemn us to a life of tragedy? Of course not. The circumstances of someone’s birth might be challenging and it is true that the path can be smoother for some than for others. But if we re looking for complicated starts in life – Jesus was born in a stable …
† God of all generations, help me to understand how my upbringing has shaped me and what challenges and opportunities have come from this. Amen.