Next Stop: Revelation

Next Stop: Revelation


The Rev. Nina Barlow Schmid has been the minister at First Congregational Church of South Windsor since 2016. She helped to found the South Windsor Refugee Alliance in 2021. Bird-watching, reading, cycling, walking, traveling and spending time with her 8 month-old-grandson, Wesley, bring her sabbath joy.

Scripture: Genesis 12:1-9  (NRSV)

Now the Lord said to Abram, ‘Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’

So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. Abram took his wife Sarai and his brother’s son Lot, and all the possessions that they had gathered, and the persons whom they had acquired in Haran; and they set forth to go to the land of Canaan. When they had come to the land of Canaan, Abram passed through the land to the place at Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. Then the Lord appeared to Abram, and said, ‘To your offspring I will give this land.’ So he built there an altar to the Lord, who had appeared to him. From there he moved on to the hill country on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; and there he built an altar to the Lord and invoked the name of the Lord. And Abram journeyed on by stages towards the Negeb.


Reflection: Next Stop: Revelation



Sometimes it takes a tour bus to carry us to the land of revelation, as was proven to me on a dusty road in the Negev Desert in November, 2018. I was reminded of that overwhelming experience when re-reading Abram’s call story in Genesis 12.

As foundational as the elements of God’s call to Abram are to the very essence of our own faith journeys, its profound command and promise of blessing – and the unquestioning obedience demonstrated by Abram – my favorite verse of this scripture reading is the last: “And Abram journeyed on by stages toward the Negeb.”

Yes, the “Go” and “So, Abram went” are unequivocally faith-inspiring. Yes, the “in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” is mind-blowing and inconceivable to those on the ground. Yes, the phrase, “To your offspring I will give this land” is beyond anyone’s ability to imagine or believe. Why, just one of those by itself, the God-speaking-to-you-part for starters, is enough to manifest an array of emotions from abject fear to elated revelation and everything in between.

This is a scripture most of us have heard many times. However, that simple last verse didn’t jump out at me until after I had actually visited the Holy Land; to have had the experience of setting foot in the Negev Desert – my very own foot. The moment our all-star bus driver pulled off the dusty, serpentine roadway into a small turn-off area, opened the door and let us out, I was awestruck.

The sun was just beginning to set. The scrubby, grayish flats, fleshy-colored dunes and mountains of many-layered purplish hues dazzled in the play of late daylight and shadow. The wind whispered to us in the sacred voice of the ages. The scene was, well, biblical.

Some of my compatriots ran like “Are we there yet?” kids right up the first large dune they could scale. Some tried to scoop up and capture the exquisite, colorful sand, letting it run through their hands, or saving it in a napkin hastily dug out of their pocket. Some of us – that included me – just stood there – mouths agape; eyes as big as saucers, as the fairy tale describes; our heads slowly turning from side to side, trying to take in the panorama before us, then up, up, up; all the way up to the expanse of the firmament – the dome – the heavens. I’d heard the Lord was in this place and now I knew it!

We were standing on the actual sands of the Negev; the sands of time; the sands of the people of Abram, our predecessors in faith; the trampled footpaths from the dust of the earth, the pathways for the people of God, thanks be to God. The place that, “in stages,” Abram made his way to, taking all that he owned, all whom he loved and all he could carry, because God asked him to.

No wonder the psalmists wrote: “O LORD, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” No wonder! To paraphrase the Sufi mystic, Rumi, my amazement was amazed!

Answering our calls from God, receiving blessing after blessing; having our willingness and resilience challenged time and again; traversing desert wildernesses of doubt and faith, shepherding the footsteps of our flocks, and being brought down to where we ought to be, we too “journey on by stages toward the Negeb,” sustained by the urging of God, the promise of blessing, and the faith of Abram. Even on a bus.


Dear Lord, Help us to keep journeying on by stages toward the Negev – and to you, by whatever means it takes – including a tour bus. May it be so. Amen.

New Prayer Requests:

We ask churches and church leaders to join us in the following prayers either by sharing them during worship, printing them in bulletins, or sharing them in some other way. To make a prayer request, please contact Marlene Gasdia-Cochrane at

Prayers of Intercession:

  • For the people of Ukraine whose lives continue to be shattered by war, as well as the many landscapes that are currently embroiled in conflicts
  • For those grieving or suffering due to the ~17,900 gun violence deaths that happened in the US since the start of the year
  • For  trans and non-binary people who are under attack nationwide

Prayers of Joy and Thanksgiving:

This Week in History:

June 5, 1968 (55 years ago): Senator Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated by Sirhan Sirhan. Kennedy was shot after announcing his win of the California presidential primary and died early the next morning.  [History

“Study the past if you would define the future.”

Nina Schmid

Nina Schmid, minister at First Congregational Church of South Windsor, was ordained at Fishers Island Union Chapel, Fishers Island, NY on October 23, 2016 and is a 2015 Eden Theological Seminary graduate -- as well as a proud grandmother.

June 05, 2023
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