Sunday, April 24, 2011

Abraham: Close Call - (response for Easter 2011 liturgy)

When the boy asked me
    “Where is the lamb?”
I almost felt like chuckling
    because there was a punchline here
    so morbidly profound
    so unbelievable

and I knew it would turn out how...?

I didn’t know.
I doubted.
I doubted as I cut the wood.
I doubted on the first day
I doubted on the second day.
As I looked up to the mountain, I doubted.

The entire distance we set out...?
    Every excruciating inch of every torturous mile.
    I doubted.

Do you suppose that it was easy to worship with the boy?
Do you imagine that it was easy loading the wood on the boy’s back?

“God himself will provide...” I said to him--as his parent
     but I didn’t know.
Then I realized we still had yet more of a walk ahead of us
    and so much more doubting to be my companion.
And I think it might have occurred to the boy somewhere along the way that this was actually a trail trodden in our time
    by many firstborns before him
From which they usually don’t return.

Most gods we find ourselves worshipping require such things.
Most gods we worship don’t bat an eye when the blood of innocents is offered
    and they certainly never stop once you’ve offered just one.

But then most gods aren’t much for the outlandish promise
    of a child to a couple in their old age
Most gods wouldn’t bother allowing me to negotiate and haggle
    how many righteous people among the wicked it would take
    to demonstrate an all-consuming redemptive grace
    for a people so seemingly and completely lost
In fact, whenever most gods are asked to establish a precedent for their justice
    I’m pretty sure the answer does come in the way of
    the shedding of more blood

Wouldn’t we all prefer silence in that case?

And so, because I had some intimate clue about this god
    that this god might somehow be different than the others
        the ones that don’t take as kindly to things like ‘doubting’
    this is why I even bothered doubting at all.

But I didn’t know.

And I doubted to the very moment that I reached out my hand
    to take the knife
    and the angel told me to stop.

To this time
    I don’t know which one of us was testing the other more.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful, horrific, insightful, illuminating and enlightening. It sets up resonances in the sacrifices God asks of Isaac and Christ. Illustrates the profound difference between Abraham and the she-wolf, Isaac and Romulus/Remus, the altar and the cross, the gods of Rome and the God of the Israelites, and the kin-dom of God and Empire. Publish please.