The succeeding moments remain pivotal, but details, especially sacrifice of a beloved child, distract us: Take your son, your beloved whom you love, and offer him as a holocaust upon one of the mountains. This was not the first time Abraham had to wrestle with harm to a son. His first child of his wife’s servant some dozen years before he loved, too. His wife, Sarah, came to hate Ishmael and his mother so much that she demanded Abraham send them defenseless into the wilderness. God communicated then to Abraham that God would not only save Ishmael but ensure he would become a great nation. Though Sarah’s motive was not pure, God assured no harm would befall the boy, and Abraham could enjoy peace with his wife.3
So it is for disciples and friendship with God. When three apostles beheld Jesus transfigured, they were in awe. Peter stammered, as we do in the face of awe: He hardly knew what to say, for they were all overcome with awe. All of us have our experiences with awe. We know how it leaves us speechless. We know experiences too sacred to tell another, even a spiritual director right away. Lent invites us to bask in our experiences of awe, then live from them in service. It might be respect when I realize how others respect me, and how God respects me to create me daily. It might be sharing with others when we realize how blessed are our resources. Lent invites us to savor the awe born of God’s desire not to spare [God’s] Son but...handed him over for the sake of us all and all creation.
- Rest in the Trinity’s presence with and for you.
- Ask Abraham to present you to Jesus.
- Praise Jesus for creating and redeeming you and choosing you as one of his disciples.
- Ask Jesus to help you recognize his power working through you and his risen presence in others.
- Close saying slowly the prayer Jesus taught. Thy kingdom come is about the present as much as the future: the glory of Jesus dawns each present moment, at times more clearly than others. Faith is our vision to notice it and savor it.
- Genesis 12.1-4.
- Genesis 12.6-8.
- Genesis 21.9-14.
- In her Veritas lecture, “Faith and the Problem of Evil: Abraham and Isaac,” the St. Louis University professor read closely the biblical narrative and dispels the misunderstanding that Abraham had to choose between Isaac and God. Access video.
- Genesis 17.19.
- Genesis 17.17.
- This is our Christian conviction, the conviction of the Letter to the Hebrews (11.17-19), when it recalled Abraham and his faith.