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How can I live the life of faith?

By offering yourself to God. Ideally we do this day by day. But sometimes we can't. Sometimes it is just too difficult or we are too distracted by all that is going on around us. At those times, we ask God to be patient with us until we can get back to offering ourselves to God.

I have a good friend who is a monk at a monastery in the middle of a large city. One day a woman was walking by the monastery. The monastery is enclosed so that all one sees is the chapel and a fence that separates the monastery from the outside world. On this day the woman saw my friend sweeping the steps of the chapel. She stopped and said, "You know, I have lived in this part of the city for years and have passed by this monastery for years, and I have always wondered about it." Pointing toward the cloistered buildings, she asked, "What is it that you all do in there?" He looked at her with the kind eyes that he has and said, "We fall down and we get up."

That is what the life of faith is about. We offer ourselves to God, for the glory of God. And we fall down and we get up.

--The Reverend John B. Fritschner

Lots and lots of people hate the story of Abraham taking his son Isaac up Mt. Moriah to kill him at God’s request. It seems cruel and nasty of God, and it’s hard to imagine how Abraham could have thought of complying with the request, even though God stops him before the deed is actually done.

This is a story from about 2000 BC that was passed down orally for centuries, and I think the original hearers heard different things. The purpose of telling this story is to show the incredible faith of Israel’s founding father. It’s a story that speaks of a test by God, which should clue us in that God never had Isaac’s death in mind. This is a test of Abraham’s faith.

It’s easy to get caught up in debating whether God should be doing such testing, but I think those discussions are missing the real truth in the story. This is a story of what it means to be completely faithful. It justifies God’s selection of Abraham as the person to take the word of God out to all nations, and his faith is touted throughout the millennia that follow.

Abraham puts God first…above everything else. We saw that he put God above himself when God first asks him to leave home and go to an unknown land. This is the ultimate test. Will Abraham put God’s desires before his only son? It’s not just a question of a father’s love for his son. Isaac is more than that. Isaac represents the promise of God to bless Abraham and to bless all the nations of the earth through him. Could he give that up? If he can, God can use him.

The question the story asks of us is, “What would stand in the way of my obedience to God’s commands?”

--The Rev. Anne Robertson



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