For my spiritual preparation this week for my October Camino Walk, I’m borrowing two questions from discernment processes: 1) which person in the Bible do I relate to the most, and 2) twenty things I like to do.
Will you join me in writing about your Bible Hero/Heroine and your 20 things you like to do?
The person I most relate to in the Bible is Abigail (1 Samuel 25:14-42).
Abigail was a woman of discretion, but she realized when a bad situation was about to get worse and that she would need to take action, even contradicting her husband. Grave danger loomed as 400 warriors were on the way determined to kill every male in the household of Nabal, Abigail’s husband.
Nabal had acted cruelly and insolently and it wasn’t the first time. Nabal was a rich man as far as material wealth, but he had no wealth of character. His name means “senseless” or “stupid” and he was known to be a bully and drunkard. He was widely feared and disliked. It is hard to imagine what Abigail saw in him. Maybe she felt the false security that money can bring, or maybe she thought she could change him. Maybe he had changed since their early dating days, but she had no option to divorce him.
He was known for bullying others and this time he insulted the wrong man, the future King David.
What do we know about Abigail? Her name means “My Father has made himself joyful” and we read of praise for her discretion as well as her beauty.
A young servant wouldn’t think of bringing the issue that they would all be destroyed to Nabal, and instead turned to Abigail for help. Abigail listened, and acted quickly. She prepared a generous gift for David and his men of bread, wine, sheep, roasted grain, cakes of raisins, and cakes of figs. She sent the provisions ahead with some servants and then followed alone. She hid this information from her husband, Nabal.
She met David and took responsibility for the problem, realistically acknowledging that her husband was senseless, but asking David to forgive her personally. She begged David not to take an action that would later cause him a troubled conscience.
Abigail returned to Nabal to tell him of the gifts she had given David and his men and to assure him that the danger had been averted. But she couldn’t tell him now: he was drunk.
She waited until the next day when he had sobered up hoping that he wouldn’t explode in fury or even violence. Instead we learn that Nabal had been struck in the night and his heart was like a stone.
With Nabal’s death, Abigail had been relieved of her burden of being Nabal’s wife!
When David learned of Nabal’s death, he sent word to Abigail with an invitation of marriage.
Abigail helped and supported David along life’s road, and she learned of a husband who valued her and protected her, even rescuing her from a kidnapper. (1 Samuel 30:1-19)
I relate to the story of Abigail as I have chosen unwisely in love, looking for material security instead of a life-time partner focused on the Lord. I’ve had to make tough choices of marital disobedience, feeling disloyal but knowing it was the right things to do. I also feel blessed as Abigail has to understand what it is like to have friends who are focused on Jesus and value relationships rather than destroying them with addictions.
For the twenty things I like to do, these are in no particular order, but only as they came to mind as I asked myself, “When I have joy or feel happy, what am I doing?”
7. Wine/Dinner with friends
11. Giving Docent Tours at the Frist Art Museum
12. Learning Spanish
13. Working with young people, post-college
15. Playing with my dog (I had to put my last dog to sleep in July. My first time being dogless in 25 years. I am planning to remedy that with another dog in the future).
16. Playing piano
17. Symphony concerts
18. Plays and Broadway Musicals
19. Listening to music/concerts
20. Visiting the Episcopal Monastery in Cambridge, MA: The Society of Saint John the Evangelist
I have a lot to be thankful for as a lot of God’s world makes me joyful!
I pray that my Camino will add to my joy through rest, walking in the footsteps of pilgrims since 1092, and the anticipation of meeting others who share God’s love.
I’ll also be walking to raise money through the United Thank Offering (UTO) for an Anglican Centre to be opened in Santiago. It will be a place of rest, a place of worship where even women can celebrate, and a place where all baptized Christians can participate in Communion. A grant will match donations received through December 2019. More information at this link: https://unitedthankoffering.com/camino/. The most recent newsletter, Summer 2019 is here: https://www.anglicancentresantiago.org/news-along-the-way/.
Blessings, my friend,