There has been a lot of pain and letting go during these days of Covid 19. We have lost many of our loved ones “in the flesh” and have only memories to comfort us. This “letting go” is likely the most difficult of any loss and the most universally understood. I considered this as I read the story in Genesis of Abraham being asked by God to sacrifice his son Isaac. It’s easy to say that God did not really ask for that; it was just a test and we know that Abraham passed the test. This is a story from very ancient days where human sacrifice was the order of the day. The practice was intended to bring good fortune and to pacify the gods. In this time and in our culture there is no justification for such a practice. My God would never ask for that kind of willingness…so how can we use the story to learn a lesson?
As we move into the second week of Lent we might ask ourselves what we are willing to give up for the common good, or perhaps even more to the point, what we are willing to do, to engage or practice to create a better world—even if the scope of our “world” is very circumscribed. Some time ago a question arose in our country asking about our willingness “to live simply so that others might simply live.” It was a clever, catchy statement that caught on in social justice circles and many people took it to heart and changed their lives to be more ecologically or otherwise responsible.
What might be a moral responsibility today if we bring the “willingness” closer to our own life? How might our lives be changed if we take to heart what it would cost to give up our most cherished images of ourselves and live in the heart of God—whatever that means to you? I wonder what the world would feel like then…