Pentecost 4 – Reflection on Abraham and Isaac: Trust and obey? (Rev Fiona Winn)

Reflection on Abraham and Isaac
Trust and obey?

Shoshana Keretz – Abraham and Isaac

Here is a tender and strong face-to-face portrait of a young man looking at,
engaged with, his elderly father: Abraham and Isaac.
A world of experience and many years lie between them.
As they look at each other, the space between them gives up the sky
and the innumerable stars of heaven.
As we look at them and look through them, we see the past and the future:
the man who received the promise and the young man who is the promise.
They are the hope of salvation for us all.
They are the covenant – through them all nations of the earth will be blessed.
Is this before or after the traumatic journey to Mount Moriah
and Abraham`s offering of Isaac as a sacrifice requested by God?
Or is it before that event?
Imagine their conversation.
What are they be saying to each other?
Write out their words…

Karoly Ferenczy – Isaac’s Sacrifice (Sacrifice of Abraham) 1901

This is a very different picture.
Dark. Violent. Disturbing.
Father and son are as far apart as they can be.
It is only divine intervention that stops Abraham`s slaying Isaac.
The angel strongly separates them and takes charge
imposing God`s true desire into the scenario. Isaac is the child of the covenant.
Through Isaac will all the families of the earth be blessed.
Isaac is half clothed, vulnerable, exposed in scarlet robe. His father the epitome of orthodoxy – soberly dressed and completely covered.
Isaac`s expression is hidden. We do not see his face.
But his head hangs down in – what – resignation? Incomprehension? Relief?
He is spent. Traumatised.
Abraham looks lost, deranged. His hands fiercely clasp the dagger.
His intention is clear: to carry out what God has asked.
The angel stays his hand. This is not, finally, what God wants.
God wants life for Abraham and Isaac – and for all peoples – ongoing, precarious life.
What words come to mind as you look at this picture?