Saturday, August 31, 2013

DAD! What are You Doing?!!

It was hot that day, like most other days.
Nothing special, except that Dad told me we were going to take a trip.
He got me up early, and we took two of our servants, some axes, and went to the grove.
I liked these days. For so many mornings of my 33 years, we had come here to cut wood. The axe felt natural, and its swing so familiar, almost like an extension of my own tight muscles.
And today we would go to Mt. Moriah to make an offering to God, my father and I.
Yes, a good day to begin.
Mom waved to us, smiling, as we walked down the road, and we walked three days before the rocky crags of the mountain rose before us.

Stay here, Dad said to the servants, while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.--Genesis 22:5

The boy. Certainly, I was a man by then. Dad never did get that.
And it took men to climb that mountain, especially with our burdens, the wood and the firepot. But we were missing something.

Father! The fire and wood are here, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?
God himself will provide the lamb, he told me. --Genesis 22:7-8

So we laid the fire, then Dad asked me to climb onto the wood pile, and to lay down on it.
The sun was high and bright, and I closed my eyes for a few minutes. The walk had been long.
I heard Dad murmur and when I opened my eyes, I saw it...his knife raised high right above me.
Dad! Dad! What are you doing?

And then that sound...the booming echo and the blinding light. I never saw anything, but heard it:
Abraham! Do not lay a hand on the boy. Now I know that you fear God because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.--Genesis 22:11-12

And the knife fell--not into my own flesh, but onto the ground, and my dad beside it. He did not look at me while I climbed down from the pyre, but looked up only when he heard the bray of the ram suddenly come out of the brush.

We had worshiped--we had both obeyed--and God had indeed provided the sacrifice.
Now, every time that I present my own sacrifice to God, I see again the upraised knife ready to pierce my own heart all those years ago. And I remember.
Dad dropped the knife because his own heart was already pierced, so he did not have to cut mine.
And I worship anew my God who is the Lord.

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