I’m not sure I’ve said often enough how much I appreciate our pastor and head of staff, Dr. Blair Monie, at Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church.
He preached an excellent sermon on Genesis 22 – the story of Abraham and the sacrifice of Isaac. That’s generally thought of as one of the tougher texts to preach on. As he said in the sermon, Larry King says that’s why he is an atheist – because he couldn’t believe in a God who would require child sacrifice of one of his followers. I know a lot of preachers shy away from that text, because I’ve seen some of the angst around the interwebs all week when it appeared in the lectionary.
What made it even rougher was the announcement before the prayers of the people that the daughter, son-in-law, and baby grandson of one of the couples who are members of the church had been killed in an auto accident yesterday. The five-year-old grandson is in Children’s Medical Center in Dallas. I, frankly, never heard a word of the prayer – I was crying too hard.
And following all of that we had a baptism of one of the babies of the congregation. The mom carried the baby in, while the dad led two older brothers – 4 and 2 years old – by the hands.
Isn’t all this a metaphor for what we believe? That God requires everything from us, but only because God has given everything to us. They’re not cheap – these gifts that were given to us. And even though we lost a family to death, they aren’t really gone. They’re waiting for us bathed in God’s good grace.
So we can confidently repeat the Apostle’s Creed and welcome a new little life into the family of God.
(But I don’t think I could have preached on that text on the morning after those deaths. Congratulations to Blair for the sermon and for not allowing the deaths of Saturday to overshadow the Sunday joy of baptism.)