Monday, November 7, 2016

Abraham: Father of Faith and Works (Ignatius Press)

Footprints of God is a DVD series from Ignatius Press that is led by Steve Ray that walks us through important figures in salvation history. The key figures covered so far have included Jesus; Mary: Peter; Paul; Moses; David and Solomon; and the Apostolic Fathers. The most recent in the series is on Abraham.

Steve Ray begins by reading from the opening chapter of Genesis. He then shows us that he is on a boat in Iraq in the Euphrates River. He tells us the importance of this river, shows us how it connects to the Tigris, and talks about Mesopotamia being the cradle of civilization. He then recounts the Fall of Adam and Eve and The Great Flood. This takes us to the Tower of Babel and the idolatry of man. God was looking for one just and righteous man, Abram (later Abraham). Steve Ray then takes us on a cab ride to Ur, the place Abraham lived before he was called by God. We also see the famous ziggurat of Ur, which was dedicated to the god of the moon and speculated that Abram probably worshiped this god. We are then treated to museum-housed treasures from the past, such as jewelry, art, and musical instruments, and what those instruments would have sounded like. Lastly in Ur, we see the royal tombs also referred to as "death pits," because human sacrifice would not have been uncommon then.

Abraham is then called by God and traveled to Haran (modern day Turkey). Abraham was a family of shepherds, and the land of Haran was good for shepherding. After Abram's father died, God again told Abram to move and go to wherever God would lead him. This leads us to the land of Canaan. Steve Ray then gives us a crash course on what typology is, using the example of bread and wine given to Abram by Melchizidek (a prefiguration of the priesthood of Christ). Abram is still without child, so Sarai (later Sarah) gives Abram her maidservant Hagar, and she conceives a child named Ishmael. Next comes the covenant that God established with Abraham. Steve Ray continues walking us through Scripture and Abraham's life, which is marked time and time again by his superior faith.

Steve Ray does a wonderful job blending Scripture, history, and culture into one great presentation. He takes you on site to places that you would only dream of visiting and points out interesting tidbits that you might have never heard before. What I like best about this program was the presentation style. I have watched many Catholic DVD programs and they all come off very polished and well-rehearsed (not that there is anything wrong with that). Steve Ray has a very relaxed presentation style that feels like he is casually speaking to you and not a camera. I mean he milked a goat and shot the milk straight into his mouth. It was both impressive and humorous. I look forward to watching the rest of the DVDs in this series.

This DVD was provided to me for free by Ignatius Press in exchange for an honest review.