Marc Chagall: Sacrifice of Isaac
Musée national Marc Chagall, Nice
Remembering Jesus on a Hot One
So this Sunday, you could turn off the sanctuary's A.C.
Or, you northerners who don't have it, keep the windows closed.
Put a sign on each one: "Windows need to stay closed today."
Hope that it's a hot one.
Let the people start to grumble, at least to themselves.
And then after this text is read, ask everyone to think
Of someone they consider to be a true disciple of Jesus,
Living or dead, famous or just a neighbor they know.
Then lots of elders and/or deacons come forward
Carrying trays filled with cups of cold water (not lukewarm!)
And as if they're passing out the Sacrament,
They pass the tray to the people on the ends of the pews,
Saying, "I give you this cold water in the name of ________."
The trays get passed down the row, with each person saying,
"I give you this cold water in the name of _________."
And lots of disciples of Jesus will be named aloud.
And lots of Christ's little ones will have their thirsts quenched.
It'll be cool. They'll remember it.
Maybe they'll remember Jesus, too.
Scott L. Barton
+ + +
"Here I Am"
Three times he says those faithful words,
Which says, what is its own reward
Is something so courageous, bold
(And hardly what we're often told),
That anyone who dares to set
Foot in a church should plan to get
Assaulted by the task at hand!
This, "Here I am," or "Here I stand,"
As Luther said more recently,
Means trust beyond what we can see,
Not knowing how or when or where
Your actions will God's grace declare.
Scott L. Barton
After these things God tested Abraham. He said to him, ‘Abraham!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ He said, ‘Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt-offering on one of the mountains that I shall show you.’ So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac; he cut the wood for the burnt-offering, and set out and went to the place in the distance that God had shown him. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place far away. Then Abraham said to his young men, ‘Stay here with the donkey; the boy and I will go over there; we will worship, and then we will come back to you.’ Abraham took the wood of the burnt-offering and laid it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. So the two of them walked on together. Isaac said to his father Abraham, ‘Father!’ And he said, ‘Here I am, my son.’ He said, ‘The fire and the wood are here, but where is the lamb for a burnt-offering?’ Abraham said, ‘God himself will provide the lamb for a burnt-offering, my son.’ So the two of them walked on together.
When they came to the place that God had shown him, Abraham built an altar there and laid the wood in order. He bound his son Isaac, and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to kill his son. But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, and said, ‘Abraham, Abraham!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ He said, ‘Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.’ And Abraham looked up and saw a ram, caught in a thicket by its horns. Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt-offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place ‘The Lord will provide’; as it is said to this day, ‘On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.’