Monday, February 21, 2011
Tears of Sacrifice
I saw the fire and the wood. But where is the lamb? I asked.
A moment’s silence. A silence that sounded loud.
God will provide the lamb, he said.
He tied my wrists and ankles with leather strips. Then he lifted me, and placed me on the wood.
I lay there, bound, not understanding that it was an altar until I saw the glint of sunlight reflected on the blade.
Father? I asked.
He said nothing.
I thought of the story of Abel. I don’t know why.
Then he looked up, an expression of almost-but-not-quite surprise on his face, as if he expected something that finally arrived.
He lifted me from the wood and cut the bindings.
There, he pointed. There is our lamb.
A young ram was caught in the thicket.
Father, I asked, were you going to kill me?
He nodded. Because God required it, he said. But then he provided the substitute, the sacrifice that would be pleasing.
I am an old man now. My eyes will soon close.
But of all of my life, what I remember most is how my father wept as the ram’s blood flowed.
This post is part of the One Word Blog Carnival, sponsored by Peter Pollock. To see more posts on sacrifice, please visit Peter’s site.
Illustration: Sacrifice of Isaac by Marc Chagall. Musee Nationaux Alpes-Maritimes (Nice).