A Slave’s Life Matters - Page 2
by John Lowe
Hagar's story is important in the Bible. She is the first person in the Bible to be visited by a divine messenger. She is the only person in scripture who dares to name the deity. She is the first woman to hear the announcement that she will bear a child, a forerunner of Mary who will also hear an angel tell her that she will bear a child. Hagar is the only woman in the Bible who receives a promise from God of descendants. She is the first woman in the Bible to cry for her dying child.
Hagar's story is important for another reason, important because so many women in history find their stories to be similar to hers. They too have been powerless. They too have been an innocent victim of exploitation, abuse, and rejection. She is the faithful but exploited maid, the black woman used by the male and abused by the female of the wealthy ruling class, the surrogate mother, the resident alien without legal recourse, the other woman, the runaway youth, the religious fleeing from persecution, the pregnant young woman alone, the expelled wife, the divorced mother with child, the shopping bag lady carrying bread and water. You may know one of these women, or you may be one.
Finally, Hagar's story is important because she reminds us that injustice is sadly still alive and well in our day, as it was in hers. Racism and ethnic hatreds flourish in this country and around the world. Hagar's story is important because if we have any feeling alive in us at all, we are touched and moved by her story. Moved enough to say, "This must not be." Women and men and children are not created to be abused but to live lives that are free and fulfilled. All of us are made in God's image and deserve to be treated with dignity.
Hagar's story is important because every person's story is important. My story, your story. In the wondrous mystery we call the love and grace of God, each story is heard and known, treasured and blessed and remembered.
Who is Hagar? God knows. Who am I? Who are you? God knows. God cares. Now and forever.