Posted: May 9, 2007 in Uncategorized

I’m going to present my lecture, “In His Steps,” (scroll down at the link) tonight for my Peak of the Week Class in Ocean Springs. We’ll see how that goes over…

I spent the biggest part of today assembling my sermon for Mother’s Day. I ended up choosing the haunting story of Rizpah from 2nd Samuel 21. The terms “haunting” and “Mother’s Day” don’t really sound good together, but I doubt I could choose a better story to convict the heart of a mother’s love.

I read a chapter on Abraham today, too, from Eugene Peterson’s new book, The Jesus Way. Peterson’s approach to Abraham’s faith focuses on what Jewish rabbis call the Akedah, the Binding of Isaac (what we often misname the “sacrifice” of Isaac). I’ll just share his big final paragraph to hint at the richness within:

The ‘Akedah’ strikes us as outrageous, the God of promises and covenant acting totally out of character. But maybe not to Abraham. Sacrifice was the motif by which he had lived for years, the letting go, the leaving behind, the traveling light. Faith, repeatedly tested by sacrifice, was a way of life for Abraham. Each sacrifice left him with less of self and more of God. Each sacrifice abandoned something of self on an altar from which he traveled onward with more vision, more promise, more Presence. In the command to leave Ur, Abraham had abandoned his past. He has been learning how to do that now for thirty-five years or so, losing nothing in the process. Now he is asked to abandon his future. By now he has a lived history in which God has provided for him in unanticipated, unexpected ways. Maybe by now he is used to living trustingly in the seemingly absurd, that which he could not anticipate, that which is beyond his imagining. Maybe he is accustomed by now to the operations of providence. If we arrive at Mount Moriah without having prayerfuly and imaginatively participated in the decades of Abraham’s testings, God seems to us to behave outrageously out of character. But not to Abraham. He is by now a veteran in the way of faith that is at the same time the way of the faithful God. He is not nearly as surprised as we are. Mount Moriah is the centerpiece of a life of faith that is completed in Jesus, who absorbed the ‘Akedah’ entire in his Gethsemane prayer, “Not my will but thine….” It certainly occupied a prominent place in St. Paul’s mind when he assured all of us who walk in the way of Jesus that “No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it” (1 Cor. 10:13).

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