• The Story of ¶saac •

WELCOME back and happy Sabbath. I want to tell you how grateful and excited I am to be here with you this morning. I can’t help to tell you this story from the Bible, and a 100 more stories pounding on the floor in anticipation. Take a moment to clear your mind, to listen imaginatively, to jot down a lot of notes, and to let yourself enter into and experience the story as we burn nitromethane up the rocky mountain to plateau. This dramatic presentation is more than mere entertainment; I need your help in this brave and worthy pursuit. It’s deeply honoring to invite you in to these stories and my writing. Hurry! We gotta get where we want to be before the sun comes up.  I want to take the best panoramic shots. We will be collecting data on ourselves, not knowing where the terrain will lead. At times, we’ll trip over our exposed roots, be scratched in the face by thorny branches, weather several gathering storms, squeeze a little blood out, and if we’re hungry and tired, we’ll eat and sleep. But at the end of the day, you will know me a little better, and you will be known a little better. I’m too naive to think I can just stop, hide, edit, erase, or paint over God’s creative madness.
Author’s Note: I have rules for the storying process that I will not subvert. But, on the other hand, there are rules in life and rights of others that I continue to break and re-learn. How does this paradox exist in me? I believe the storying process is to be organic, individualized, taken ownership of;  a place to be as creative as you can get.

Conflict crafted CAFE QUESTIONS I pose to explore and engage you well: Do you like the element of surprise? When have you been most taken by surprise? Are you in a bit of a bind, feeling rather crazy? When have you been a bearer of bad news? Consider a time when you protected the vulnerability and sensitivity of a young ♥. What subjects have you placed in no man’s land? What do you do or take to stay calm? Do you know how to calculate your ♥ rate and rhythm? Have you shared your dream trips of a lifetime with you-tube, and what are they? Are you open for going to Neptune? What letters would you write if you didn’t come back? When have you pinched yourself and asked, “Is this really happening?” What are you reading in scripture? How would you like to end your life?

HYMNS & WORSHIP: I don’t know what songs/  hymns/music to use, and I can’t sing to you, and my weak ideas are but a few, like: “You Alone Can Rescue,”  and  “Mighty to Save,” and Abigail Washburn & Bela Fleck | And am I Born to Die https:youtube.com/watchv=kGgmXqJIGYO

PSALMS responsive reading: Psalm 148, NLT
“1Praise the lord!
Praise the lord from the heavens!
Praise him from the skies!
2Praise him, all his angels!
Praise him, all the armies of heaven!
3Praise him, sun and moon!
Praise him, all you twinkling stars!
4Praise him, skies above!
Praise him, vapors high above the clouds!
5Let every created thing give praise to the lord,
for he issued his command, and they came into being.
6He set them in place forever and ever.
His decree will never be revoked.
7Praise the lord from the earth,
you creatures of the ocean depths,
8fire and hail, snow and clouds,
wind and weather that obey him,
9mountains and all hills,
fruit trees and all cedars,
10wild animals and all livestock,
small scurrying animals and birds,
11kings of the earth and all people,
rulers and judges of the earth,
12young men and young women,
old men and children.
13Let them all praise the name of the lord.
For his name is very great;
his glory towers over the earth and heaven!
14He has made his people strong,
honoring his faithful ones—
the people of Israel who are close to him.
Praise the Lord!”

SCRIPTURE: John 1:29-34, NLT
29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 30 He is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘A man is coming after me who is far greater than I am, for he existed long before me.’ 31 I did not recognize him as the Messiah, but I have been baptizing with water so that he might be revealed to Israel.”
32 Then John testified, “I saw the Holy Spirit descending like a dove from heaven and resting upon him. 33 I didn’t know he was the one, but when God sent me to baptize with water, he told me, ‘The one on whom you see the Spirit descend and rest is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 I saw this happen to Jesus, so I testify that he is the Chosen One of God.”

PAINTING: rembrandt-van-rijn-the-sacrifice-of-abraham-1635
Project the image on the wall by
Rembrandt (1606-1669)
“The Sacrifice of Abraham”
Oil on canvas
193 x 133 cm
(75.98″ x 52.36″)
What I’m seeing is a painterly painting, where the figures are not evenly illuminated, but shed on important bodily features. I’m seeing a recessional construction, dominated by figures placed at an angle to the picture plane and receding into depth. moving back from the front plane, creating action, saying something psychological is happening here. I’m seeing an open composition of vigorous diagonals that contrast with the verticals and horizontals of the frame. Diagonal lines not only play on the surface of the picture, but move back into depth. Figures are not simply contained within the frame, but are cut off by it at the sides. There is a feeling of space beyond the edges of the picture. The composition is dynamic rather than static; it suggests movement and is full of momentary effects, as opposed to tranquility. This painting is about contrast. I am most taken by the contrast between powerful hands, protecting hands, and the absence of hands.

Narrate the BACKGROUND @genesis 15:1-6, 17:1-27, 18:1-15, and 21: 1-7, NLT.
The Lord spoke to Abram in a vision and said to him, “Do not be afraid, Abram, for I will protect you, and your reward will be great.” But Abram replied, “O Sovereign Lord, what good are all your blessings when I don’t even have a son?” Then the Lord took Abram outside and said to him, “Look up into the sky, and count the stars if you can. That’s how many descendants you will have.” Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord counted him righteous because of his faith. What’s more, is that God changed his name to Abraham, the father of many nations. The Lord kept his word and did for Sarah and Abraham exactly what he had promised. Sarah became pregnant, and she gave birth to a son for Abraham in his old age. And Abraham named their son, ¶saac. Eight days after ¶saac was born, Abraham circumcised him as God had commanded. Abraham was 100 years old when ¶saac was born. And Sarah declared, “God has brought me laughter. All who hear about this will laugh with me.”

This is where our story begins. NARRATE the STORY @genesis 22:1-24, NLT, twice. I’m narrating your world to you. What did you hear the first two time’s that you want to see and hear again?

This is the story we have, and that’s the way the story goes. Let us spend some time to WONDER and DIALOGUE about this story, and bring any questions or observations we have to the table, including any historical elements, cultural customs, symbolic objects, or key word references, by using the Bible to interpret the Bible. Questions may not necessarily be answered, but will be voiced and raise interest. For example: How in the world will Abraham count and creatively name all the stars in the sky? Why were Abraham’s two servants left behind?
Note: child sacrifices were prohibited by God @deuteronmy and @leviticus

Let us get into the CHARACTERS of the story. Look for Jesus in everyone. Discover Jesus in their story.

What do we know about Father Abraham? How would it feel to live a long and satisfying life with a 100 sparkling candles on your plate of sticky rice? What would it be like to have face to face attunement with God? God just asked you to take your only son, whom you love so much, and sacrifice him as a burnt offering, but you already know that child sacrifices are prohibited by God. How might Abraham handle this paradox of tragic news? How will you suture ¶sacc’s  ♥   if it rupturezzz during their heartache operation? God only knows what would have happened if an angel of the Lord had not spoken the words, “Don’t lay a hand on the boy. Don’t hurt him in any way.” What scenes could have been flashing before Abraham’s eyes? The angel of the Lord spoke again from heaven, “…I will multiply your descendants beyond number, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore…and through your descendants all the nations will be blessed.” How can we possibly express our gratitude?

What do we know about ¶saac? What would it be like to be an only child? Father Abraham just asked you what’s on your calendar for the next 3-4 days. He invites you to climb a mountain with a bundle of wood on your back, while Father Abraham carries the fire and the knife. The terrain of the mountain climb is changing, reaching a plateau, where Father Abraham has built an altar, arranged the wood you yourself carried, has tied you up, and has laid you on the altar. What might ¶ssac be thinking, feeling, hearing, seeing, smelling, moving, praying? Father Abraham already said, “God will provide” a sheep for the burnt offering. What do you think the two of them were looking and listening for? If we could tie back the realm over and around ¶ssac, what would we see?

What did we learn about GOD in this story? God tests our faith. God uses bad news of opportunity for the Good News to shine on the rough terrain we’re traveling on. God keeps his Word. God is faithful. God will provide. God uses unusual objects to rescue his people. God will make his mission trips successful. God counts stars. God paid for my life, but I’ve never been able to bring my life up to the standards he deserves. I’m reading a radical sense of goodness.

What aspects of this story or character, foreshadow the GOOD NEWS. The Good News brings awe and beauty, and shines light on the path we’re traveling on.

• Abraham believed God, and God counted Abraham righteous because of his faith.  Father Abraham had the faith of who he was and who he was becoming. He knew the character of his God. This trust brings tranquil rest and shalom to ¶ssac and us.

• ¶saac accepted his role, born to die, and carried a bundle of wood up the mountain where Father Abraham saw a ram caught by its horns in a nearby thicket. Jesus accepted his role, born to die, his brow bled beneath a crown of thorns, and he carried the wooden cross to the mountain, Golgatha.

• Abraham took ¶saac, his only son, on a 3 1/2 day journey up a mountain, and said to his two servants as he left them at the base of the mountain, “We’ll be back.”  God sent Jesus, his only son, on a 3 1/2 year active mission trip.  Jesus said, “Let not your  ♥  be troubled: you believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.”  @john 14:1-4, KJV

• Abraham saw a nearby ram caught by its horns in a thicket. So, Abraham took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering in place of his son. Abraham named the place, Yahweh-Yireh, which means, “the Lord will provide” (NLT). Years later, John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world! @john 1:29, KJV.  I’m still under the impression that God will provide. How unfathomable and yet too wonderful to understand. These stories will be studied for all eternity.

1. Inductive teaching present 2. Biblical answers validated 3. Did we see Jesus 4. Clear questions 5. Logical flow of story 6. Affirmations given 7. Low participants encouraged 8. Who did most of the talking

Our goal is to seriously apply this story to our life. Our challenge is to read our world, and to engage our world with a series of words in a prayer, a poem, a song, a short story, or to create something that EXPRESSes the depths of our heart’s response and share our style of relating at a level of sheer intimacy. This indefinite season of training to write with art flowers my heart, and you get to hear what God has placed at my intersection, as I exist currently in front of you.

May God have perfect liberty when I speak.
May God’s message liberate souls.
May I gather my materials
and set it alight when I speak.

Abraham, I AM
the boy, and the ram
in times past there were only three
and they all agreed to a plan
I listen as they talk
the only way to take in is to go for a long walk
sandalwood scents reach the edge of camp
sand still feels warm under crescent lit lamps
tribal tents pitch gently in the distant
columns of smoke roll up the summit
there must be another way to save
innocent climbs upon his grave
the bold-face delivery would seem to paralyze
I’m repeatedly let off the hook
I bleed into everything – Isaac, Isaac
they delay no longer
praise for the ram and for the Lamb

DRAWING:charcoal lamb
“A Lamb,” 2016, charcoal on 18×24 paper. The spirituality of imperfection exists in me and in my art. We are a likeness of Christ’s brokenness, and we exhibit his sufferings as we face discrimination and profound vulnerability on our worst days.


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