Let us open our hearts in prayer to the Lord, May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, our Rock and our Redeemer. Amen.
I'd like to tell you a story about a friend of mine; Bess. She grew up bouncing from church to church, exasperating Sunday School teachers with questions they either didn't want to or couldn't answer. Such as, "Where is direct evidence that God exists, Why do horrible things happen if God is a kind and loving being?" Bess finally decided that there were too many unanswered questions for her to believe in a Christian God. So Bess turned to other religions studying Judaism, Taoism, Zen Buddhism, Hinduism, and Paganism. She attended religious summer camps and read the whole Bible just for the purpose of enlightening herself. Finally, she had to admit to herself that she was unable to believe in a deity, any deity. Now notice that I say unable not unwilling, or unwanting. Bess became an atheist. Bess, as I said, is a very good friend of mine, in fact, I believe that in the last two years that I have known her she has made my faith stronger. You may be asking yourselves, how could an atheist make my faith in a Christian God stronger? Well, she was able to ask questions prompting me to examine my faith and I have come to define parts of my faith in a new way, not by diminishing it, but by realizing just how strong it is and how much it means to me.
More than anything else, however, Bess has shown me just how lucky I am. One of the most touching conversations that I have ever had, was when we were discussing blind faith and Bess suddenly turned to me and said, "I truly envy you, Julia. You have the ability to just believe. I would give anything to be able to believe in something. Don't you think that I want to believe that I am going somewhere after I die?" In that one hope, I think that Bess is more faithful than most of us here. While she may not believe in God, she searches for answers, and she has left herself open to God when and how He chooses to enter her life. Some may say I am God's conduit to Bess, others may say, rather, that she is God's conduit to me. I'm sure there was a time in Bess's life, as in all of ours where we asked, "How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?" I think that we all need to examine our faith; question why it is that we believe, and how strong is that belief. If we can truly say that we have blind faith, then as Bess would put it, "we are lucky", and as God would put it, "But I trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation."
What does Bess have to do with Abraham and Isaac? Blind faith. It is because of Abraham's blind faith in God that his story is told. If God told me to go kill my child for Him, I think I'd probably check into a psychiatric ward before dragging my son out into the desert. Yet what was Abraham's answer? "Here I am." That is his answer to every question. "Here I am." Use me as you please, Lord. I am here for you, so that your word may be done. Abraham reminds me of another of God's disciple's, His own son, Jesus. The foreshadowing of the Passion is what struck me first. When Isaac asks his father where the lamb is for the burnt offering, Abraham tells him that "God himself will provide the lamb for a burnt offering". God did provide the Lamb, not for a burnt offering, but for our salvation upon the cross. As Abraham did not withhold his son, his only son from God, neither did God withhold His Son from us. "The Lord will provide". What truth is held in that short statement. God has provided His only Son for us in return for our blind faith.
All He asks of us is blind faith. All He asks of us is BLIND FAITH?!? That is a lot to ask. To expect a human being to truly believe in something without concrete evidence sitting before them, is ludicrous, right?. But little children do, all the time; Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, as well as many things their parents and teachers tell them. The children in my Kindergarten through Second Grade class are full of questions as to why things in the Bible happened, but they would never question if they happened. These children are lucky in that they still live in innocence, and in that innocence they are happy. They can allow themselves to blindly accept God and His love. Soon they will start to question everything, and my prayers are with them that they will find if not the ability, at least the desire to have blind faith in God.
May our faith in God lead us through life as we search for the truth of the light and love that is found in belief in God. Amen.