“So he sent him out of the Valley of Hebron…” _Genesis 37:14
It’s happened to all of us…
A melody line in a song, or a statement made by someone gets stuck in our mind and we can’t let it go.
“The Valley of Hebron” grabbed me like that in my Bible reading recently.
Maybe it was the subconscious memory of a funeral service I attended the day before. But anyway, I paused in my reading and following the recommended cross references listed in my Bible.
Turns out that Hebron was a special place for the early fathers of Israel.
- Abraham settled there, built a family altar there and eventually buried his wife Sarah there.
- Isaac, his son, eventually settled there and was buried there.
- And then Jacob returned and settled there and was eventually buried there as well.
As I mentioned above, yesterday I attended a funeral. It was the funeral of Adam Miller, the son of Harold and Ruth Miller. I joined the family at the committal service and as I stood there at the graveside and listened to Pastor Miller speak the last words over his son, I was struck by how he pointed to the nearby graves of his parents and he then he pointed to the spot that he’d be buried someday.
I realized that I was standing on sacred ground.
Sacred family ground.
We’re so scattered in America today. So divided. So separated.
Nothing seems sacred anymore.
How did we get here?
Maybe it’s because we lost our sacred places in our own families.
Family meals without distractions are extremely rare. Families going to church together and sitting on the same pew together is even rarer. We live with strangers, work with strangers, and even worship with strangers.
And when we die, we scatter our ashes to the wind.
Where is our Valley of Hebron?
The sacred burial place?
This Thanksgiving, take time to go back to the old homeplace if you can. Visit the burial place of your fathers and mothers. Take your children and your children’s children. Show them the sacred places of their family, share the family values and the family faith.
This Thanksgiving, rebuild the old family altar. Read from the family Bible. Make sure an Elder of the family gives a meaningful grace over the Thanksgiving meal.
This Thanksgiving…remember all that you hold sacred and commit to pass it to the next generation. It may be your last great assignment–give it your best for it is the only hope we have for our divided, confused, and lost nation.
In closing, from Sonja and myself, let me offer a heartfelt wish for you and yours to have a most blessed and meaningful Thanksgiving this year.
With warmest regards,
David L. Kemp