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).


Anonymous said...

That scene has always been confusing, maddening (as a parent, especially!), and awe-inspiring for me Glynn, but you put such a completely human face on it. Lovely!

Maureen said...

The story told this way has immediacy, is vivid, and, as Dena says, "completely human".

(Recognized the Chagall right away. Its a beautiful complement to your piece.)

L.L. Barkat said...

that ending... oh.

katdish said...

Awesome, Glynn.

Always wondered what that conversation might have been like.

signed...bkm said...

You did a great modern narrative of the Isaac view and the promise of the coming Lamb of God...very nice...bkm

a joyful noise said...

I too have questioned how a parent could ever consider sacrificing his "only" son. Abraham was our Old Testament picture of God giving us His Only Begotten Son.
Such a lovely portrayal.

Alise said...


This has always been a really difficult story for me to read. If I read it in the newspaper, I would assume insanity. If it happened to me, I would check myself into a mental institution. I don't know how to reconcile those certainties with this story.

But this is a lovely retelling.

Helen said...

I always wondered how Isaac felt about that whole incident. Was he frightened? How did it affect his relationship with Abraham? I love the picture you created of Abraham weeping as the ram's blood flowed.

Louise Gallagher said...

Oh wow. Wow. Amazingly told. And vivid.


Ryan Tate said...

Yes, that ending is SO good!

lynnmosher said...

Oh, wow, Glynn! I agree with the others! This is! I'm so glad I got to read this. Bless you!

HisFireFly said...

I. Am. Without. Words.....

breathtaking, thank you.

Jeanne Damoff said...

Powerful, Glynn. I've always wondered what this would have been like for Isaac and how it would have affected his relationship with his father afterward. Your ending brings redemption into that picture. Beautiful.

Zee said...


i always wondered about what was going on inside Isaac's mind - mostly people talk about the faith of Abraham, but the fact that old man like Abe could tie a young man like Isaac tells me a lot about the obedience and trust of the son toward his father.

if only we were so obedient to God whenever He does something that we don't understand...

thanks for sharing, Glynn.

Cris Ferreira said...

Glynn, this is one of my favorite episodes in the Bible. Through it, we can relate on a personal level with the sacrifice that God provided for us (giving His own son in our place).
I loved the narrative, I was picturing the scene was I read along.
Well done.

Sandra Heska King said...


God will provide.

JofIndia said...

I feel silenced...

Duane Scott said...

This scene in the Bible almost always makes me upset.

But not today.

Great post!

Mari-Anna Frangén Stålnacke said...

Beautiful. Powerful. Thank you for the post. Thanks be to God for the perfect substitute! God bless you!

Anonymous said...

Breathtaking . . . awe . . . faith I don't have that strong.

Thank you for writing and sharing

H. Gillham said...


That was so well done.

I'm impressed by the word "thicket."
Who uses that anymore? *tee hee*

This blog is always a blessing.

Thank you.