The Christian faith is dead set against child sacrifice! Right???
Good. I am so glad we have that settled. One of the reasons we call the valley at the edge of Jerusalem by the name “Hell” (and Jesus describes this trash heap as a place where the fire never extinguishes) is because the wayward Israelites of old offered their children to Molech there (II Kings 21). We American Christians do NOTHING like that, of course (unless our children serve in Vietnam or so forth). And in fact our hearts and minds are so sanitized against child sacrifice that we hardly take notice of Abraham and Isaac and only see God, the Father, answer that NEAR child sacrifice with his own complete child sacrifice.
But even though Isaac did not wind up dead on that altar, his daddy laid him on it all the same. The sacrifice was complete in his heart – thus he passed the test (Gen. 22). Soon Moses’s mother would place her baby in a basket on the Nile river (Exod. 2); tell me she did not give her child to God! And of course this has me thinking of Hanna’s prayers and subsequent handing back to God the child of her barren womb! (I Sam. 1&2).
It seems there is a lot of child sacrifice going on here, if you ask me. And that answer… God the Father makes to Abe’s NEAR sacrifice sooooooo many eons later when his own Son, Jesus, hangs on a cross??? Well, that is Mother Mary’s sacrifice too. And though she would live to see things differently, for her Holy Week was anything but a pleasant holiday with pretty flowers and Easter dresses. She gave her promised child back to God and watched Injustice Roll Like a River!
I look for the meaning in this stuff every Sunday when I partake the Eucharist. But as a foster parent watching a child I love be sent back into Hell with no apparent relief in sight, I am looking for that meaning from Mary’s shoes now.
At this point, the only PEACE I find is in the eye of the storm. God, the Father, in each of these cases is there WITH these parents doing his divine mysterious thing that cannot be explained. He is utterly breaking the hearts of the parents, and I do not know why. All I know is, dear child, you belong to God. And my tears roll like a river.