In preparation for Sunday’s sermon, the Rev. Cress Darwin reviews the biblical book of Genesis.
He finds the story where God orders Abraham to leave his home and promises him numerous descendants comparable to the sand on the seashore and stars in the sky.
Darwin, who leads Second Presbyterian Church in Charleston, admires Abraham for his obedience and faithfulness.
“The hope that I take is that if God can use some of these characters, he can certainly use us,” Darwin said.
Abraham isn’t only revered by Christians. He’s a central figure in Judaism and Islam as well.
While the faiths are unique in their religious beliefs, customs and practices, Abraham is the common forefather that shows the religions have a lot more in common than what some may think.
Abraham is considered the patriarch of monotheism. According to the story recorded in Jewish, Christian and Islamic texts, he was instructed by God to leave his native land where his family worshipped pagan gods.
Texts say that Abraham had two sons, Ishmael and Isaac. The former founded the Arab people from which the Prophet Muhammad came and founded the Islamic faith. From the latter, Judaism manifested and Jesus Christ is eventually born thousands of years later to initiate Christianity.
The faiths draw spiritual lessons from their elder who endured tests that challenged his commitment to God, including his willingness to sacrifice his son.
For Jews, he’s revered for his obedience. Christians say he was faithful like Jesus Christ. Muslims honor him for his submissiveness.
In the second annual James Sawers Jr. Speaker Series hosted by the Charleston Interreligious Council this week, Rabbi Reuven Firestone, Ph.D., who teaches medieval Judaism and Islam at Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles, will lead a session on Abraham’s importance across religious sects.