Well - Lent as a time of renewal is all very well and good. But this week it is stretching me to think about renewal with the Genesis (12) reading. I think that I'm going to go with renewal of the night. After Abram makes his sacrifice "a deep sleep fell on him, and a terrifying darkness descended upon him." Talk about the times when, like Abram, we doubt that God is going to come through for us. . .
Here's what I really love, though: The idea that that strange business of cutting the animals in two was an acting out of a covenant pledge or a promise, like "cross my heart, hope to die" if I don't do what I say I'm going to do. God is saying, "If I don't fulfill my pledge to you, you can tear me to pieces." And then, what do we do to Jesus, but break his body and shed his blood. It's not really because God isn't faithful. It's because we aren't faithful, and God takes the blame for us.
But I'm not preaching that this year. Hopefully, I'll still be preaching in three years when this set of texts come up again.