‘Sacrifice’ is an old word it is laden with lots of meaning and mystery. The literal definition of ‘a sacrifice’ is simple; to do something sacred or priestly.
As a child of Catholicism and an Italian mother I know the word from statements like, “Do you realize the sacrifice I have made for you!?”
Sacrifices are part of living. People make them all the time; for family, for a job, or for our country.
In the famous story of the Binding of Isaac, Abraham nearly sacrifices his son. He carries the wood, he makes an altar, he pulls out the knife, but as the story goes an angel appeared, and Abraham “looked up” and saw a ram. God provided Abraham with exactly what he needed at the exact moment he needed it.
One of the most compelling, hopeful moments in the Bible is when Abraham paused and looked up. God saved Abraham from an unnecessary sacrifice.
True religion is about a relationship with God. One in which we allow God to intervene in our lives. We look up.
Think of all the unnecessary sacrifices you and I make:
- We sacrifice time for worry
- We sacrifice our health to stress and overproduction
- We sacrifice our calm sanity to multi-task and overfill our calendars
- We sacrifice really being present to and enjoying a meal, or seeing a painting, or hearing a concert or connecting to the person in front of us because we are in too big a hurry, we are restless, overwrought
- We see truth sacrificed because we are afraid to be honest.
When we look up, God enters our stories. What is true comes to light and new possibilities are seen to help us toward better sacrifices that bring us joy, life and goodness.
When do you quit looking up? What is happening in your world, in your relationship with God?
Has your faith become a static, boring a sacrifice you make without the feelings of intimacy that bring joy and life?
Open yourself to God, ask God to bring you exactly what you need when you need it. True religion awakens our hearts.
When we look up, we become God’s grace.