February 23: The More Things Change

The Church of the Ascension Lenten Devotional

Share This Post

Today’s reading is the story of Abram, his wife, Sarai and their maid, Hagar. As a 21st-century, pink-pussycat-hat–wearing feminist, I recognize Margaret Atwood’s inspiration for The Handmaid’s Tale. I am appalled by the treatment of Hagar by Abram and Sarai.

Sarai has her reasons for wanting Abram, 86, to reproduce. The Lord has made a covenant with Abram granting his descendants land. Sarai feels too old to conceive. She doesn’t trust God. She interferes, as Eve in the Garden of Eden. Sarai offers up Hagar, a servant (an Egyptian) who has been with them 10 years. Abram takes Hagar and she conceives. Abram doesn’t trust God either.

Hagar is pregnant and contemptuous. Sarai is enraged. Did she really think Hagar would hand over her child? Abram says, “Your maid is in your power; do to her as you please.” Abram is weak in flesh and mind. Hagar is with his child and Abram does not protect her from Sarai’s harsh treatment. Hagar runs away but is told by an angel to go back and submit. This angel predicts her son to be “a wild ass of a man, his hand against every man and every man’s hand against him.” Thousands of years later, Abram’s two sons, of different mothers, are still feuding over lands granted to Abram’s descendants by the Lord.


  • Psalm 22:23-31
  • Genesis 16:1-6
  • Romans 4:1-12



More To Explore


Parish News: The Week of May 22

In this week’s newsletter: news about upcoming clergy sabbaticals 🙏 , the bishop’s visit this Thursday for Ascension Day ⛪ , a going away party for one of our long-time parishioners 😢 , and news about our friend, former parishioner and (recent) seminary grad Stacey Carpenter’s new call to parish ministry in Delaware 👍 .

Read More →

Parish News: The Week of May 15

This week: We welcome our friend Fr. Sam Owen, Priest-in-Charge of the Haitian Episcopal Church of the Good Samaritan, as our guest preacher. Following the service, he will share news of the New York Haiti Project in a forum. Join us — in-person* or online!

*In-person worshipers and visitors must wear face masks and practice safe social distancing.
Read More →