Today while folks back in the States are firing up grills, marching in parades, and watching baseball games — actually rising from bed to prepare for these activities — the group from Hillsdale visited the alleged birthplace of Abraham in Urfa (also known as Saliurfa). Muslims claim Urfa as Abraham’s birthplace. Others say that the city of Abraham’s birth, Ur, in southern Iraq, is the one referred to in Genesis. Since Urfa is only 24 miles from Harran, where Jacob had to work for his wives, Leah and Rachel, and it is where Isaac sent Jacob to find a wife, some believe that Urfa, with the family’s ties to the region, may be the real place of Abraham’s birth.
Either way, it was good to see the male Orthodox Presbyterians in the group take their identity as the spiritual seed of Abraham seriously amid Muslim tourists and pilgrims by donning the traditional head gear and thinking about what Paul wrote in Galatians (yet another part of Turkey!):
Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise. (Galatians 3:23-29 ESV)