(A retelling of the story of Abraham and Isaac)
A weary journey, a wakeful night,
They left their camp before daylight
An old man carrying the weight of years
Wrinkled cheeks wet with tears
At hearing the young boy at his side
Prattle on with childish pride
That he alone had been chosen
To help his father on this mission.
“Are we going to build the altar ourselves?
While you carry the fire, can I gather the stones?
God will be pleased with our sacrifice, Father,
Only where is the lamb we need for the slaughter?”
Abraham answered Isaac, his child of promise,
Miracle-born past child-bearing years,
“These questions can wait, just stay by my side,
And carry the wood, the rest God will provide.”
The day wore on, and the afternoon came
Isaac’s cheerful patter gave way to a game
Of guessing what the sacrifice would be
Since it seemed to him a great mystery.
Together they worked on a small rise
When Isaac asked with mischief in his eyes,
“What trick do you have up your sleeve,
Father? An invisible lamb, I do believe!”
Slowly Abraham rose from the stones of the altar
Slowly he raised his face to his Father
Searching the heavens for a sign of reprieve
For now he could no longer deceive
The child who looked on him with trust
The child through whom his knife would be thrust.
“Isaac,” he said, as firmly as he was able,
“You are the lamb I will place on this table.”
Isaac’s smile, so like Sarah’s, faded.
He stared in silence, then quietly nodded.
Lying upon the altar, he whispered with humility,
“I am ready, Father, for you have taught me
That to obey is the best sacrifice of all.”
And at these words, Abraham let his tears fall:
“My son,” he cried, as he raised high his knife,
“God Himself will provide you with life.”
As Abraham met faith’s painful test
Before the knife plunged through his son’s breast
A voice called out from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”
And he stopped and he answered, “My Lord, here I am.”
“Do not lay a hand on the boy. Now I know, My son,
You have not withheld from Me your son, your only son.”
Then Isaac and Abraham heard in the thicket a noise
For there God had provided a ram for the sacrifice.
Two thousand years later, a Man hung on a cross
Streams of blood flowing from his wounds and his scars.
Unprotestingly he had borne the scourge of the whip
Now bowing to the agony that through his flesh ripped.
People passed by, cursing and taunting, “Save yourself, come down,
Son of God, if you are; then we will worship and before you bow.”
But He gave Himself up my sins to atone,
My God, My God, Your Son, Your only Son.
“I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.” (Jer. 31: 3)