Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Sunday Word 2

In today's first reading, Abraham has built the altar, stacked the wood and is ready for the sacrifice. He takes his son, Isaac. He binds him. He lifts him up and places him on the wood. We are told nothing about Isaac’s reaction to these events. We don’t even know if Isaac looks up at his father with tears in his eyes asking the question…why? Why daddy…why? All we get is a close up of this intense moment as Abraham takes out the knife, raises it up, and takes aim at his son.

In this picture there are no drum beats or chanting natives. There is only a father and a son, tied up on an altar and a knife in the air. Just as Abraham is mustering up the courage to force the knife through his son’s chest, he hears, “Abraham, Abraham.” And in a moment of shock and relief, Abraham answers, “Here I am.” In this final response Abraham’s wishes and hopes are fulfilled as God provides a ram, stuck in a thicket, to take his son’s place. In the last verses it states that Abraham called the mountain, “The Lord will Provide.” There is no talk about how Isaac felt as his father untied him or how the journey home went. We are left with only the realization that God once again kept his promise and provided even though we, the readers of this story, always wonder what would happen if the angel never showed.