“For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. His son by the slave woman was born in the ordinary way but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a promise. These things may be taken figuratively, for the women represent two covenants.”
Something I have never noticed before, but is very interesting and informative, is the statement by Paul that this story is to be taken figuratively. He is taking Old Testament text and interpreting it through a figurative lens, he is treating it as myth not as historical fact, and the truth within the story is only amplified not diminished. Profound truth and beauty can be gleaned from this story of Hagar and Sarah if one can simply step back from this habitual act of literal interpretation of these ancient texts and view the story from a slightly different perspective.
“Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. At that time the son born in the ordinary way persecuted the son born by the power of the spirit. It is the same today.”
The story basically presents us with two lenses with which to view ourselves: one is the lens of slavery and the other of freedom.
Looking at ourselves and others through the lens of slavery tells us that we are controlled by our human desires, we are slaves to our evolutionary instincts and have no chance of loosing those chains.
This view is a static one.
We are not in a flow, we are not furthering or developing our human consciousness but rather we are stuck, trapped, enslaved to our human nature and destined to forever be fearful of those who are different, selfish in our ambitions, violent in our relationships, and broken at our core. And if not enslaved to our humans, we are enslaved to God and his laws, creating a wrathful master rather than a loving father. This is the view seen through the lens of slavery.
But this is not the good news, we are not to proclaim the brokenness of humanity and shame others into some sort of “relationship” with Jesus.
That is not good news at all.
The good news is that we indeed are not children of slavery but children of freedom.
“Therefore, brothers, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.”
We are not to see life through a lens of slavery but through a lens of freedom. The freedom lens shows us that all of human kind, women and men, are equally born free of the law of man and free of the law of nature. We do not have to be controlled by our instinctual desires evolved over time, we can overcome and subdue those. We do not have to live by our selfish desires for survival but rather we are free to love others when we do not benefit, to show grace and mercy to those who do not deserve it, to choose peace instead of violence.
This is what it means to have life in every moment of our lives; eternal LIFE.
For we, my brothers and sisters, are not to be defined by an inherent brokenness but rather we are defined by a radical freedom given to us from birth by Christ who reigns in all things.
Just imagine a world where everyone knew the freedom they have been given? A world in which we took off our lenses of slavery and finally viewed each other with a lens of freedom.
The lens of freedom allows us to see the other with love and compassion no matter their religion, no matter their political leanings, no matter their orientation, no matter their sexual identity, no matter their broken past or grievances.
The freedom lens allows all of us to see each other for exactly what we are: the body of Christ.
Grace and mercy ⇒ love and peace.