Saturday, February 13, 2016

Love & Sacrifice...

For February 14, 2016

A-Poem-a-Day
Until Resurrection Sunday

Image credit: malkhut.com


LOVE AND THE AKEDAH

The Binding of Isaac – Genesis 22


 "Take your son
your only son
whom you love…"

Twenty-two chapters into Scripture
and it's the first time love is mentioned
as God tells Abraham,

"Sacrifice Isaac
as a burnt offering"

What swirls
through the mind
of this old patriarch
(who after a hundred years
fathers the son
of God's promise…
the son he loves
and proudly watches grow)
What swirls as he swings
the sharp axe, splitting wood

It was three days journey
from Beersheba to Moriah—
Leaving his servants behind
Abraham hands Isaac
the bundled wood
and carries fire and knife
up the mount
himself

"Avi" (my father)
"where is the lamb?"

"God will provide the lamb
my son"

Abraham erects an altar of stone
arranges the wood and binds the lad
(whose faith and obedience
must be at least as great as his own)

Unflinching before the God
he has finally come to trust
the aged patriarch
(known to lie
to save his own skin
known to try to pull off
God's covenant himself
when it seemed God was slow
in keeping His promise)
this same patriarch…
raises the glinting blade
above his son, his only son
whom he loves…

Split-second
to knife-fall
the angel of the Lord calls

"Abraham! Abraham!
Do not lay a hand on the boy…"

The old man
who proves he would
withhold nothing from his God—
drops the bloodless blade
unbinds and embraces Isaac

O boundless relief
Effusive praise

and there, tangled
in a thicket, struggles
the substitute sacrifice
…a ram

Two millennia later
God's Son
His only Son
Whom He loves
carries wood
of a crossbeam
up the very same mountain

No angel of the Lord
arrives last moment
to halt the hammerfall
No ram appears
in a thicket

For God so loves
the world
He provides…
His Son
His only Son…The Sacrificial Lamb

 Maude Carolan

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