F A T H E R
You look up at Father’s sweaty brow and smile. You think of the times you have gone with him to offer sacrifices to Yahweh. You think of the last calf you fattened, how you fed it mounds upon mounds of fresh green grass. But today is a different day. It is the day you go with your Father to offer sacrifice but without the fattened calf. Later on, you will ask him about the calf and he will tell you that Yahweh will provide. He always does. Father always tells you that Yahweh will provide. And Yahweh always provides.
You get tired, and bored, and you walk behind the servants - the lot of them. Father has very many of them; both male and female. There are animals to be grazed, and mother is too weak to do all the house work by herself. She needs the female servants to milk the cows, and prepare food for the hosts of guest father ever so readily entertains, and every so often.
Father has been acting strange lately. He barely touched the bread and fresh cow’s milk mother served him at dinner the two days ago. Yesterday, he took you everywhere with him. To the fields to graze the cattle; to Lot’s house for their evening prayers together, and to his servants’ quarters to hear the daily report of their work. But he has lost the spring in his step. The smile that lights up his face has vanished. He looks like the weight of the world has been placed upon his shoulders.
Two days ago, he told you he was going up to offer a sacrifice to Yahweh. The excitement almost choked you, you tried to remember all the other times you had gone to offer sacrifices with father. How meticulously he prepared; you would fatten the unblemished calf for months. You would go with the servants to prepare the wood for the fire. Mother would cook food for you and father and the servants to take on the journey to the mountain. On the day of the offering, you would wake up early in the morning to father’s songs of praise. And you would not ask why he was so excited- you already knew!
This time was different; he did not carry the fattened calf. You did not think much of it. After all, he had told you that Yahweh will provide.
When you reach the top of the mountain, you help him prepare the altar for the sacrifice. Suddenly, he wipes a tear from his eyes. Then two. Then he begins to cry. You are confused and wonder what you have done. Or what Yahweh has done. You panic, and begin to cry, too. But he smiles at you, and tells you he will be alright.
He asks you to lie on the altar, you look at him, your brows furrowed in confusion, but you obey. He helps you up, all the time singing songs of praise to Yahweh and wiping his tears. Then he ties you to the altar and blind-folds you. You want to run from him, forever. But you know you cannot. Father will find you. You cannot outrun him.
You wonder what father is about to do. He cannot kill you, of that you are certain. But father said Yahweh will provide the sacrifice. Is Yahweh asleep? Or has he forgotten the sacrifice? Or, are you the sacrifice?
Then you hear someone call father’s name. The voice is unfamiliar. He tells father not to touch you, and your heart skips a beat. You pinch yourself to make sure you’re not dreaming. You are not. Father unties you, and helps you down. Then he falls to the ground in worship. He is overwhelmed with emotion and begins to cry uncontrollably. You put your hand on his shoulder. You look up and in the bushes, there is a ram caught by its horns. The ram will be the sacrifice.
Image from here