June 28, 2020

Genesis 22:1-14 Matthew 10:40-42 “Wavering Faith” In the email I sent out to the congregation in preparation for this Sunday, I noted that I would be attempting to preach on Genesis 22 this morning, the story sometimes called “The Binding of Isaac” or “The Command to Sacrifice Isaac.” I mentioned that one commentary describes the passage as “one of the most famous, infamous, vexing, compelling, repugnant, fascinating, horrifying, suspenseful stories in the Bible.” The same author suggests that “It’s a dangerous story, so we have to tread carefully. And it’s a story full of treasure, which is why it’s been prized in both Jewish and Christian traditions for thousands of years.” This familiar passage comes up in the lectionary once every three years, and many Christians hear it every year at Easter, as it’s one of the key texts in the Easter Vigil liturgy. And yet, it has engendered heated debate over the centuries. Is it a story of an abusive God, a misguided Abraham, religious violence at its worst? Or is it a story of faith and obedience? I remember one summer when it came up in the readings, another preacher was filling in for me while I was away on holidays. She preached a non-traditional interpretation of the story, and people were still talking about it three weeks later when I returned! There is a Yiddish folk tale that goes something like this: Why did God not send an angel to tell Abraham to sacrifice Isaac? Because God … Read more »