The Collect of the Day
Almighty God, we pray you graciously to behold this your family, for whom our Lord Jesus Christ was willing to be betrayed, and given into the hands of sinners, and to suffer death upon the cross; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Psalm 22:1-21 | Lessons: Genesis 22:1-18 & John 19:1-37
“Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains that I shall show you.” Genesis 22:1 – 18
In all of scripture I don’t find any other story as egregious as this one about Abraham and Isaac. As a mother and now a grandmother, I cannot find in my heart or my head a place that could understand or follow through with this directive given to Abraham by God. The great Renaissance artist Caravaggio illustrates this passage with lighting that brings the scene to life in a visceral way, perhaps even more difficult to look at than reading the words.
However, as with so much of scripture, that living document by which we live and move and have our being, the story does not end there. Abraham trusts God. Abraham never doubts God. Abraham obeys God…and God rewards Abraham. Not only does God provide the sacrificial lamb, but God blesses Abraham for his willingness to give even his only son to God by promising him offspring too numerous to count.
Fast forward to the New Testament, and the Abraham/Isaac story sounds eerily familiar. God steps in and sacrifices God’s only Son, but this time the Sacrifice is for the salvation of the world. And we, those “offspring as numerous as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore” are the benefactors of that sacrifice.
And that is why this day is called Good.