Sunday, January 9, 2011

Communion Meditation – “My Son, My Son”

The relationship between fathers and sons is very special. I pray every day for the safety and well-being of my own son, and I think I would be lost without him. I know most fathers can relate to this very feeling.

In Genesis 22, we see Abraham being tested by God. God tells Abraham in verse 2, “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.” And Abraham obeyed God, even though he had been made to wait until he was a hundred years old to have a son. Because Abraham was faithful, the story has a good ending. As Abraham raised the knife to slay Isaac, the angel of the Lord called out to him in verse 12 and said, “Do not lay a hand on the boy…Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”

King David had many sons. His third-born was Absalom, and while Absalom made some mistakes, it is clear that David loved him deeply. Even though David had demanded protection for his son, Absalom was killed by the commander of David’s army. And when David heard the news, we see his heart-rending reaction in 2 Samuel 18:33. It says, ‘The king was shaken. He went up to the room over the gateway and wept. As he went, he said: “O my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you—O Absalom, my son, my son!”’

Stories of a close son, or of an only son are abundant in the Bible. Jeremiah 6:26 says, “Put on sackcloth, my people, and roll in ashes; mourn with bitter wailing as for an only son, for suddenly the destroyer will come upon us.” Amos 8:10 tells us, “I will turn your religious festivals into mourning and all your singing into weeping. I will make all of you wear sackcloth and shave your heads. I will make that time like mourning for an only son and the end of it like a bitter day.” And we even see Jesus involved in the story of an only son in Luke 7:11-13 – “Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.””

Losing a son is a heart-breaking experience for a father. It is perhaps the greatest sacrifice that a father can make, as history continually shows. And that is why we come together weekly to think on these things and we turn our thoughts to our Heavenly Father, who is Almighty and All-Powerful…and we ponder these words:

John 3:16 - “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

And from 1 John 4:9-10 – “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”

And so, we see that though God stayed the hand of Abraham and prevented him from taking the life of his son, Isaac, He did not stop the events that led to the death of his own Son. And we remember.