March 08, 2009

Coming to Terms with Abraham's Sacrifice

I think many of us are confused, at best, with today's Old Testament reading (Gn 22:1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18). Does it resonate with our lives, with our consciences, with our human experience? We are outside of Abraham's head for all of the event, and maybe that is why we pull back from it.

"How could Abraham be willing to kill his son?!" we cry. If we didn't initially revile at that though, something would be very wrong with us. But we're not inside Abraham's head. We don't know what he's thinking. I doubt he took the command easily. Do you really think he enjoyed the idea of killing Isaac? I'm certain that he struggled, argued, debated. A loving father - Father Abraham - couldn't have obeyed God's commend lightly. Abraham had tremendous faith to obey God when it was hard, when he couldn't understand why God wanted what He wanted.

Any of us can obey God when it's easy or exciting. "Noah, build me an ark." Cool! "Abraham, head into the desert with your family." Road trip!

On a less literal level - only slightly less - we are called to do the same here, to obey when it is hard. We are called to not withhold anything from God. Every parent must, at some point, give their child into God's care. To try to control and mind them at every step, for their entire lives, is impossible and, almost certainly, damaging to the child to try. Every person must give control to God at some point. We all end giving it up in our final moments, if we don't beforehand. We may hang on to our life and our control to the bitter end, but we can't ever keep it eternally. God will have control. Period.

Mary didn't plan to be a pregnant virgin. (Who could?) Noah didn't plan to build an ark. And Abraham certainly never planned to bring his son to the altar of sacrifice as he did.

What are you planning today?

1 comment:

Deanna said...

Great post about what I think is my (and probably most other's) eternal strggle, giving God control, over everything. I d o think having children helps you realize that control is elusive at best. It did for me!

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