Not Yet

God’s gift to Abraham was the promise that his descendants would teach the world what it means to live in the presence of God. Abraham’s reciprocal gift to God was that he believed Him. In spite of everything that argued to the contrary three thousand years ago, Abraham gave God the benefit of the doubt. That is what I take that crucial verse in Genesis to mean. He believed that what should be, but was not, one day would be. And because Abraham’s lineal and spiritual descendants took up his implicit theology of “not yet,” much of that vision has come about, and everywhere I look, people are striving to bring the rest of it into reality. This world is still not the world God intended it to be. Some human beings have made it worse and continue to do so, while others have made and are making it better. I am sustained by the words of Martin Luther King Jr., quoting Theodore Parker, an abolitionist who died in 1860: “The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.” And it bends toward honesty and toward forgiveness and toward generosity. The heirs of Abraham, whether they identify themselves as Jews, Christians, or Muslims, honor Abraham’s memory by sharing his faith that the world we live in is not yet what God meant it to be, and by working to bring about the day when what should be, will be.

— Harold S. Kushner, Nine Essential Things I’ve Learned About Life, p. 168-169.

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