Sat, 24 February 2018
(Gn.22:1-2,9-13,15-18; Ps.116:10,15-19; Rom.8:31-34; Mk.9:2-10)
“You shall offer him up as a holocaust
on a height that I will point out to you.”
“Take your son Isaac, your only one, whom you love,” the Lord instructs Abraham, calling him to sacrifice even as an animal his beloved child, upon whom God’s promise rests. To a mountain he is led, with his son carrying wood in tow.
And arriving at the place God had told him to go, “Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it… and took the knife to slaughter his son.” The angel comes to stay his hand, but Abraham is prepared to do as the Lord commands.
The Lord prevents Abraham from making this sacrifice because it is not his son who is to die; only the Lord’s Beloved could be offered as such a holocaust; only His Son is called upon to die. “Christ Jesus it is who died,” no one else, for only His death brings life.
And on Mount Tabor today we see the life that will come by the Lord’s sacrifice; already we glimpse the rays of heaven. Jesus is as engulfed in flames, holy fire of the most blessed holocaust; and – like the three young men in the furnace, like the bush before Moses on Mt. Horeb – by these flames He is not burned: by these flames His purity is made to shine.
How good indeed it is for these apostles to behold this blessed vision! In it we all find hope that the death of Christ is not for naught, and neither shall our own death be. For all who die in Christ, die as Christ, a death that brings only eternal life. And so, comprehending here the majesty to which we are called, all disciples of Jesus, all children of the God of Life, are strengthened for all trial.
God “did not spare His own Son but handed Him over for us all,” not because He loved Him not, but because He loves us all. And now “will He not also give us everything along with Him?” Will He now seek to condemn those whom He has justified at such a massive cost?
“It is God who acquits us,” brothers and sisters, by the death of His Son. And now “precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death of [all] His faithful ones”; do not be afraid to serve the Lord. For by your sacrifice, to a great height He will draw you, even as He has His Son, who “is at the right hand of God” this day. With Abraham, He “will bless you abundantly.”
Written, read & chanted, and produced by James Kurt.
Music: "White" from Listening to the Lamp, ninth album of Songs for Children of Light, by James Kurt.
O LORD, if we join your Son in obedience
even unto death,
we shall be raised with Him.
YHWH, your Son has died to raise us all to new life; only His death could bear such fruit. And should we not therefore put faith in Him, Him whom you have declared your Beloved? Should we not thus come to a great love of you who have loved us so greatly? And would we not then come to glory, the same glory He shares with you this day?
A sign you give to us this day, dear LORD, a sign of your eternal glory, a glory that comes to us by the death of Jesus the Christ. And so, we should not be afraid of the death we must die, of the offering we must make of our lives in His Name. For as we are joined to Him in sacrifice, so will we be joined to Him in your heavenly kingdom.
O LORD, bring many souls, souls as countless as the stars, into the land you promise us and which you bring to fulfillment in the death of your Son. For this grace let us praise your Name forever in your House.