We celebrate Sarah, the wife of Abraham and mother of promise through art, poetry and music.

painting of Sarah by Silvia Dimitrova

Genesis 18:1-15

18 The Lord appeared to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the entrance of his tent in the heat of the day. He looked up and saw three men standing near him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent entrance to meet them, and bowed down to the ground. He said, ‘My lord, if I find favour with you, do not pass by your servant. Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree. Let me bring a little bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on—since you have come to your servant.’ So they said, ‘Do as you have said.’ And Abraham hastened into the tent to Sarah, and said, ‘Make ready quickly three measures of choice flour, knead it, and make cakes.’ Abraham ran to the herd, and took a calf, tender and good, and gave it to the servant, who hastened to prepare it. Then he took curds and milk and the calf that he had prepared, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree while they ate.

They said to him, ‘Where is your wife Sarah?’ And he said, ‘There, in the tent.’ 10 Then one said, ‘I will surely return to you in due season, and your wife Sarah shall have a son.’ And Sarah was listening at the tent entrance behind him. 11 Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in age; it had ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. 12 So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, ‘After I have grown old, and my husband is old, shall I have pleasure?’ 13 The Lord said to Abraham, ‘Why did Sarah laugh, and say, “Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?” 14 Is anything too wonderful for the Lord? At the set time I will return to you, in due season, and Sarah shall have a son.’ 15 But Sarah denied, saying, ‘I did not laugh’; for she was afraid. He said, ‘Oh yes, you did laugh.’

Sarah by Graham Kings

Who is this woman,
Eyes uplifted,
Elderly, beautiful,
Pondering, anxious,
Right hand responsive,
Stopping laughing,
Brow furrowed,
Fingers knobbly,
Left hand supportive,
Relaxed, accepting?

Who is this man,
Eyebrows surprised,
Mature, elegant,
Wondering, welcoming,
Left hand cupped
Near to heart,
Beckoning hearth,
Reckoned as righteous,
Right hand blessing,
Thickening calf?

Who are these visitors,
Arrayed in radiance,
Mysterious in difference,
Framed by bowing
Oaks of Mamre and
Tent of Meeting,
Together as three,
Emerging out of
Scintillating leaves
Merging as One?

Mother of Promise
Of people and nations,
Forever empty,
Who ceased to be
After manner of women,
Laughs to herself,
Then covers it up,
Eventually conceives,
Bears and believes
‘He who laughs.’

Father of Promise
Of people and nations,
As good as dead,
Who previously laughed,
Suggesting a son of
Slave girl instead,
Now furnishes
Nourishing relief,
Hope against hope,
Sealing belief.

Lord of Promise
Of people and nations,
Proclaiming astonishing
Fertility, fecundity,
Wonderfully righting
Wrongful response:
For incoherent jest,
Co-inherence sows.
From mature oaks,
An acorn grows.

© Graham Kings, Nourishing Connections (Canterbury Press, 2020).

Also available on

Permissions for Churches to show the paintings.
We encourage churches to use the paintings in PowerPoint presentations.
There is no charge for this, but the copyright wording should be:
‘Sarah’ by Silvia Dimitrova was commissioned by Alison and Graham Kings. and 

The poems are published with photos of the paintings in ‘Nourishing Connections’, Canterbury Press, 2020.

The CD of the seven anthems is available here:

A 17-minute Fugue State Films video of the world premiere of Tristan’s anthems at St Stephen, Walbrook, London, 14 June 2023, can be seen here: 

Church Times podcast, featuring the project, with interviews with Silvia, Graham and Tristan, may be heard here: