Lectionary Year A
June 30, 2002
Genesis 22:1-14

Step V: Hermeneutical Bridge


      What a hard text! Hard, in that God calls on Abraham to be ready and willing to offer up the child of promise. Hard, in that the God of promise, of grace, asks for the sacrifice of Isaac.

      Of course, there is a ram provided, and Abraham doesn't finally have to cut his own son's throat. Of course, down the road there is the glimmer of the gospel, the good news of the God who so loved the world as to give the only, beloved Son to save the world.

      I found the insight in Step IV of Judaism about the "Binding of Isaac" being about a spiritual sacrifice of one's children to be helpful. There's good news about God being the One to finally actually go through with a sacrifice-- so Abraham is off the hook!

      However, what about Christians in the U.S. today? How far do we let our Christian discipleship take us in making decisions which effectively "sacrifice" our children?
------the pastor, or missionary/"fraternal worker", who feels a strong enough call to a field of service where compensation is limited that he/she takes the whole family to feel and live the consequences of that call?
------the parents who decide not to let their children go to a certain movie, or buy a certain brand of clothing, when almost everyone else does?
------when sports, dance, etc. is in constant conflict with worship, how does a parent decide where the priorities need to be?

      If God were to ask US to make a sacrifice involving our children, what might the most painful form SHORT of what Abraham did take for us?

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