This Sunday we hear about Abraham and Isaac in the first reading from Genesis. (Readings here.) This is a really tough one, even though we know the outcome.
By contrast, today, on Saturday, we hear about obedience, following God’s laws, statutes, and commands. (Readings here.) Today’s Gospel is very clear, we are compelled to love our enemies.
Sacrifice our children and love our enemies. No wonder we are challenged by our faith. How can we make sense of any of this? It is thoroughly confusing and confounding. Yet here we are, trying to make sense of it. We see that Isaac is spared, but we know that Jesus is not. As a result of Jesus not being spared, we are free. Given this, is loving our enemies so difficult?
The answer of course remains yes, it is exceedingly difficult. Yet, we must keep at it. Abraham made this horrible choice, and he was given relief. We are not always so lucky. What if we learn to love our enemies and are rewarded with peace and grace that have no words?
It is all a terrible risk, yet as we make our way to the Second Sunday of Lent, we press on. I can’t do it without Jesus, I can’t do it without you. Let us go together.
(Here is a beautiful snippet of Benjamin Britten’s Canticle II, Opus 51, Part 1; music to ponder and pray with.