After World War II and we saw the horrors of the holocaust, people said “Never again! Never again will the world tolerate genocide!” But that is difficult and costly to put genocide prevention into practice. It means intervening in other countries, sometimes militarily, which is costly in human terms and in material. That promise of “Never again!” can cost us dearly. But we believe it is the right thing to do as a society. And yes, since WWII, we have done better in some cases and worse in others holding that up.
In many ancient religions, people offered up their children as a sacrifice to this or that god. It was taking something precious you had – the most precious thing you had – and showing the god that you were so very devoted to them. Of course any modern person feels revulsed by this practice – how could people do that? It is easy for us to say, “Never again! Never again will we sacrifice children to any deity!” This brings us to a problem in our Christian faith, for right there in the Old Testament we seem to have God telling Abraham to sacrifice his one remaining son to him. What are we to do with that?
Our Sunday 10:30 am service on September 17 will be our fun annual outdoor service (weather permitting) on our lawn. We will continue talking about stories in the first book of the Bible, this time about the binding of Abraham’s son Isaac and Isaac’s near-sacrifice on Mount Moriah, found in Genesis 22:1-14. Would this God of Abraham actually ask Abraham to sacrifice his only son left to him on an altar? If someone said that to us nowadays we would immediately call 911, have the police intervene, and the child put in protective custody. If Jesus is the very image of God, then can you imagine Jesus asking that of any father or mother? What is going on here? And how could this possibly relate to us? Where is the grace of God in all this? We will reflect on that this Sunday. Grace happens, by God!