Archive for the ‘The Akkedah’ Category

Out-sourced Sacrifice

With staffs slashed, with news rooms down to 30 percent, with all the pub closings and church closings, and the death of the box store, the old hostile take-over world is changing. With the culture of online universities, and crematoriums rather than the Land itself, who still has a loyalty to the old places, to the Fatherland, or to Isaac, on Rosh Hashanah? What do you owe your father and his Fatherland?

Appealing to your vanity, Abe, in the directive, for all-time, that you SHALL be a blessing. To a place you do not KNOW, you shall be a blessing?
The Akedah

In an indescribable life, with Lot, with your half-sister, along with your own father… “On your journey, I shall bless you!”

So the events. The Call to give up your home, at the age of 70. The sacrifice of all that you have. “And I shall make your name great. And all shall praise your name?” And the event involves this idea of sacrifice, connected to not your son but your nameless mother. Leave!

So after this idea of sacrifice – of the past – so the world will never forget, you have to now sacrifice the future. Or had the event been the miracle of Sarai finally giving birth, without a place called home, as a stranger in the land? At the age of 89! Or had the event been setting your first-born son, in the Call to Sarah to give up HIS home, free? Or in appealing to the opposite of your vanity, in the things which give identity, had the event been sacrificing her first born son, to set YOU somehow free?

Adoption. The National debt. Land as well as Land Management. The next generation. The price of the Louisiana Purchase, as the new states-to-come lead to a Civil War. Your own kids, left with this mortgage. How could you not feel the sense of punishment in the story about The Sacrifice?

“God, keep our Land, glorious and free!”

Like the North American immigrant, as to the question who am I, after leaving “it” all behind. The work in the Water and Soil Conservation office. In the lyrics of “Oh Canada” there is the hymn to balance liberty with security, with The Spirit of the Land directed at ‘Our’ God. With This Spirit comes but the crimes against the Spirit of our home and Native Land, with the adopted Spirit? Behold the Tabernacle …. That God may dwell with men and women.

Given one chance to address The Court. To waste the bullet in the duel. With a hoped for Forgiveness, accompanied by change and NOT punishment. If you know the ending of Hamilton. “Go ahead and shoot.”

“When the earth has turned beneath you, and your voice is seldom heard.”

Measure the invisible things that come out of sacrifice – their love, their kids, their God. Measure and compare the themes over this lifetime, of you to your better half. The connection of infertility to fertility … separate from the issue of punishment. For the women there is this sense of punishment, while Abe was out there walking the Earth, getting a sense of the Living God. To grow something deep, forever, for all the places without borders.

The Elephant in the room. In what is missing in each story, which son gets to enter willingly? Did the chief servant and the slaves? The first born son as an adolescent? The elephant in the room was a missing freedom, in the story of circumcision… for the forced in and the forced out.  Like in the conception of Hagar, has the trauma ever been forgotten?  For Ishmael? The first born son, in Recovery, of something forgotten? By Isaac? Can you explain the hatred for Christian, Jews, Muslims, and all religion in the western world? Is it an envy that God seems to give all the riches to Christians and Jews and Muslims, if you have seen their places of worship, or seen just the people standing at this Western Wall?

There always seems something foreign about Orthodox Jews, Catholics, Muslims. Over their concern for the outside world. When all politics is local, how can you be concerned about the far away, like the Jews, the Christians, the Muslims are? So why do you have this sense of Punishment in the story about The Sacrifice? What had been missing in The Akedah?

What did Abe come away with in The Spirit of the Land directed at One God who he called ‘Our’ Creator?  From out of all the acts of saving, there is “Sacrifice.” Being saved. For just your own? And then there is the hospitality in saving others… While being so human. Out of The Call, what followed in the chronology? The man fighting in war to save Lot. The man fighting for the victim, in the collective SACRIFICE, like the God of Abraham did in The Akedah? The man, now fighting, clearing a spot, for the Spirit of a land and for a “dwelling place for Spirit.” So what is going on in these stories about giving up being either human or divine? Giving up your Homeland along with your home, then giving up your first born son, until finally sacrificing the first born son of your wife.

To believe in such Spirit of a Land, how human does Abraham seem to you? To have such intense desire, like Abe. Did you ever comprehend the difference between the human for a divine purpose … that all might be divine? There had been this connection of Ishmael/Isaac to one place, versus Moses/Jesus connection in the book of Exile, in giving something up, to all the Earth/ to all people. Could the half-sister of Abraham, the half-son of Sarah, the half son of God comprehend the difference between the human for a divine purpose? And what, if you were really born human, was the perspective of Joseph, to a foster Land if-not-adopted son?

Did you ever comprehend in the stories of relationship, in the theme of “the missing” in the story of the Passion, the other half?  The half that Jesus cries out to? That he thinks he was wrong, in his leap of purpose, in this identity as The Messiah? In his Player Development, formed, by those related to Abraham, and then to be cut loose, Isaac – so much like Doug Mientkiewicz by the Minnesota Twins this week. Not fines AND suspension, or even banishment… but Death, as your father, through you, tries to save the world.

It is the second sons, in the world where firstborn sons are favored, who are supposed to challenge the Truth!  Now what, sport followers/ Apostles/ Sarah? When you had carpet-baggers running the show, everyone should be on edge!

The back and forth… “this alone I seek” prayer: “Hear and show me your ways, Lord!  One thing I ask…this alone I seek. To dwell in the House of the Lord, in the Temple. To be a part, Oh Lord!  Bring me to your dwelling.”


When you have to come back a separate, different way. So, there is this long period of recovery, either for the Victim or for anyone, like her/his family, who had come to know the Victim. And there is this long period of recovery, in trying to return to what was once there. So the sons of Isaac were supposed to grasp something so Intangible that comes out of the freedom to leave, in the story.  When a Victim was so innocent, and somehow this indescribable event is connected to learning how to pray, directed at God-alone prayer with others, out of the alone-ness in the stories, like in the three Abrahamic religions – of Judaism, Christianity, Islam.

To convey and pass on a sacrifice: How many time would God intervene, after Sarah’s out-sourcing, in this disorganized human world? Did you comprehend the irony of a people who grab hold of what you had uncovered — Spirit — after once giving up everything, now hugging the past, so that the most important part of Abraham’s story would not be forgotten?

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Passover

“Mostly they are the same lives. The same stories, over and over,” wrote David Remnick, the editor of The New Yorker. We endow our lives with stories. When your relationships were so alive, as your prayers were so alive and you wanted others to then have the same experience. Mostly the same stories, generation after generation. In search of the Promise Land. With a great restlessness. Carrying the fire, with the importance of the binding in the relationships, in stories within your own tradition, about pure love. With God’s intervention in the relationship.

Moses was born into a story whose history long predates him. Like Abram, Moses was a member of a “tribe” and like Abraham, he carried the idea of a new nation, after the burning bush, based upon Abraham’s idea of a place to freely sacrifice? A nation based upon blood, though it is thought that the young would never want to know about pain, never want to know about war, pestilence or death? The young do not, for the most part, want to hear of the never-ending plagues? They do not want to hear about Israel,named after the renamed Jacob?

There is this poetic justice of Passover, when contrasted to the times of the birth of Moses in Egypt.  I wonder whether the Egyptians were then having kids? Behold, in the story of Moses, the outsider! To the Pharaoh, with the two kinds of people in his kingdom – those who were free and those who had become enslaved – there was this annoying Moses.  Or had it been the savers and those who needed to be saved, as the slaves were making the Pharaoh look bad? Was this a fear, like in Sodom, of the growing minority of outsiders? [Lot, who had married a woman of Sodom, had been the only outsider.] Contrast the ambiance in Egypt in the times when Moses had been born to the ambiance in Egypt during the plagues. Death was all around? New life was not?

Note the separation if not a halving in this unsettling story. To be moved, like Abram, from his place of birth. The writers who record, unknowingly, an identity in stories, never mention the heart-break when you sacrifice a homeland? For the Pioneers, the FIRST time in the story of firsts.  Born into a story whose history long predates me, note the Identity, here! The ones listed, in the metrics of measuring up to the past, to judge.  So Abram’s first born son was half-Egyptian, though never in his early life had he seen the land of Egypt? After Egypt had saved the sons and grandsons of Jacob – after the Ishmaelites had saved the life of the prophet Joseph – wasn’t the threat HERE, in the times of Moses, to the Hebrew slaves whose identity comes from the LAND?  Hadn’t that been the reason Abram left, in his Call, in the first place? When he sacrificed his father’s home? There is a threat when you identify so much – too much – with the native land?

Compare / contrast. The metrics of story. Miscasting Ishmael, as a son disowned, the story of Passover miscasts the slaves? The tradition of story – the Passover story – only makes sense in light of the larger narrative arc of God’s saving work with Israel – so much like the half of his mother’s family that Jacob came to discover, as he had moved in with them [those who had formed her]. Echoing this theme of fulfillment is, the larger narrative arc, from an every day invisible formation of his own creator, at what point you were felt to be half-slave? As you were losing your identity, in this more and more secular land, like in Egypt? In a slavery which consumed every moment of your life, without any law to protect you and your loved ones? When you were not free, the past and its tradition become so dispensable, in a secular world.

Formed to be different than those living in the secular world of The Egyptians. Concerning Identity …. what does make me belong here, even after The Call? Notice ever the saving LAND of Egypt, for more than 400 years? There is this hostility in the perspective to the past, over the power of the past that everyone has been born into, because the past carries a certain authority.

Passover. There is the past in the story. So a new nation, based upon Abraham’s idea …. like maybe Abraham once had considered what a son would be like? And is it ironic that his first-born son had been half-Egyptian, and it was Egypt that had saved the grandsons and grand-daughters of Jacob, who had been renamed Israel? In a story of the loss of innocent life, is there a missing perspective about this unsettling story of Passover. For the Pharaoh who lost his first born son – the one he thought would one day be king?

The Call, again. Did you hear the Call again, here, like Abram had been called out of the land to which he was born? And so another story about halving in this unsettling story of refugees, like Abraham’s first-born son, Ishmael.

Was there a great irony, in a disconnect from the time of Joseph when he had saved not only his father and the sons of Jacob but he had saved the Ishmaelites and all of Egypt? Behold another story about those who were saved, those who belong not to a land but, to us, still – the 600,000 refugees and their God. And what clearly had happened in the story of Passover, at the time of Moses’ birth through the time when Moses killed an Egyptian to save a slave, is that under the Pharaoh the past and its tradition had become so dispensable.

Over and over there is, for the sons of Abram, The Call. And in Passover, it is Moses who heard the same Call, to move the descendants of Abraham through Sarah out of Egypt. The story is not about political Power but something else. Did you feel all of the emotions connected to leaving? “I envy the dead with somewhere to settle down … permanently,” said the Syrian widow who envied the dead, while leaving in 2015 her loved ones behind . . . to be moved, like Abram from his place of birth? Life as refugees, for forty years! Behold Passover!  Note the halving/ separation in this unsettling story, as hearts are broken, as death is all around, but new life is not?

Had you read what had happened in Cologne on December 31, 2015, about the missing sacred, for younger people whose smaller attacks repeatedly have been discounted as random acts, by the secular leaders like Angela Merkel and the mayor of Cologne? It was like the gun violence, here, where I live. The secular world, in Belgium, treated Muslims from Morocco as victims who had no chance of succeeding, in life. What happens to a people who cannot be saved? To their Spirit? To move out of a kingdom, with powers of the monarch, into the land with more freedom where the majority ruled but you were always going to be the minority. You were not formed as the majority had been formed here. The KING of Morocco – unlike the Pharaoh – was happy to get rid of these discarded Moroccans who had come over time to sacrifice their identity? Clearly, these accused young male were giving up their religion and their identity which had taken up every moment of their life. Cast into a democratic republic, new belief filled the vacuum, that the end justifies the means? The young all around wanted consumer goods or some kind of worldly power over someone?  It had been young Moroccan men in Cologne on New Year’s Eve, involved in sexual assaults. [The unresolved mystery for this writer is how so many Muslims claimed January 1 as their date of birth.] Behold their underlying anger, that accompanies a lost identity!  What does the secular world not see about what had been left behind?  Behold the emptiness in the story, in the stories of the great unsettling and an emptying out.  Is it a wonder that ISIS – these pimps FOR sacrifice, for only their own temporal power – appeals to the refugees from a kingdom?

As you sacrifice a past, either voluntarily or involuntarily, the story of Ishmael had never been about a frothing rage at the colonialism of Sarah, using her handmaid to have a son. In the great unsettling, the story of Ishmael is not about a paternal Authority but something else – the spiritual power at work in an unsettling. The Call. His very own Call, just like the Call of Abram. And Hagar too listened to the voice of God, in another story of a saving love which comes out of the true sacrifice in leaving, as Abram once left.  


Passover is the challenge to remember for the children the unsettling story of invisible splitting. So had Ishmael been a victim? When each of the Victims in the stories of sacrifice – Isaac, Ishmael, Jesus – left behind to their followers this boldnes-for-life identity, like for a chocolate chip cookie. The unsettling boldness passed on by Abraham, to all of his sons and grandsons? This Passover season [which does extend for eight days] recall with bold gratitude the insertion into a rich family history of this ancient tribe of Abraham, with the attachment to the arc of God’s saving work through Abraham and Sons, both in the Land of Israel and wherever you happen to live, after the Great Unsettlings.  As a believer in one of the Abrahamic religions, consider the chocolate chip cookie and whether you had enough chocolate chips inside to even be considered a chocolate chip cookie, by both the inside and the outside world, or in the new world that you had entered.  With forty years of exile, to come.  What does happen when there is not a community of people there who had preceded me?  It is said in Belgium, “a less-integrated Turkish community has resisted the promise of redemption through jihad offered by “radical” zealots. The Turks, as a result, had held on to their identity in a foreign land.  Their children are not so split – YET – between the old world and the new.  And speaking of “saving love,” it is Turkey and Jordon which are saving so many refugees!

Behold the land which had once saved the sons of Abraham in Egypt, if the leaders there always did not. Note the Ishmaelites who did sell Joseph – at a time when slaves were sold – in the “Saving” in act of buying. A caravan of Ishmaelites had been given Joseph, after Judah had had his brothers sell Joseph – for a price, each time. Behold Egypt in the story, of salvation!  This selling of Joseph by the Ishmaelites, in the end, to the Egyptian, had saved him.

Behold the system, and the closeness to power in the story, in the household of the king! In the real world, behold The Pharaoh, counting the cost, 400 years later.  And slavery was about humans looking for enough ease! Yes, the Ishmaelites had sold Joseph . . .to a chamberlain.  Behold the pain of giving up, what you one day had had.

This ‘giving up’ was a Passover story. Just as saving or being saved, in the case of Moses, by the Pharaoh’s daughter. Living with the Egyptians before the split, with a closeness to power. Hadn’t it been a betrayal to the sons of Joseph who had saved all of Egypt to then enslave them? Behold the perspective of sacrifice: inside and outside over the devolution of sacrifice! “So where is the lamb, Abraham?”

From the saving LAND of Egypt, was it all of this LAND that needed slaves? Behold the invisible fertility which returned since the times of Famine!  The grateful-for- having-been-saved slaves!  When these people of Egypt had enough – Dayenu – and then forgot, by this point in the story, about all the people connected  to how Egypt had been saved.  So how, Moses, would the land be tended after our slaves were set free? What did a LAND do to a people’s spirituality, for these humans looking for ease!  Behold the threat of attachment to a place, if the Israelites too much belonged? Behold The LAND as a character in the story, with the sell-out, with betrayal, of your one-time saviors!  Did you have too much land or too much money if you ever considered purchasing a slave? Or not enough of your own fertile young kids to work the land?

With income and expenses, note the involuntary nature of his request to sacrifice your nation’s slaves, by this man named Moses. There would have been a revolt!  In the betrayal part of the story, in the Akedah, hadn’t Abraham betrayed his son?  How does that story connect to Passover? Why should the Pharaoh betray the Land and the future?  Had there been a threat of attachment? So did these slave belong to Egypt?  If your son never had a homeland, how would any of your descendants ever belong?  Did a son make a father too attached to the world?  Why HAD Abraham heard the Call to leave his home?  And then the Call to sacrifice his only son?  Whichever son!

It had been the chief servant who found Isaac, oh so damaged in the Akedah, as the reliance on the servants continued in this family, a wife. Hadn’t Jacob then betrayed Rachel by not saying no to the marriage with Leah? And then there were all the handmaid tales, with the sons and one daughter of Jacob, with sellouts, with betrayal, over issues of belonging?  Or in a world with all of the arrangements and the arranging, in  a world with dowries, was it the laws which determine belonging?  Locate all the betrayals…. in Joseph tattling on his brothers; in his brothers plan to sacrifice Joseph; even in the revised arranging to sell Joseph into slavery, based upon who was free and who was a slave in this family? And Reuben!  Yes, with the long-forgotten Reuben, did you ever see the voluntary nature of his sacrifice …. of the birthright?  And wasn’t that what had saved Joseph in the first place?  And by saving Joseph, Joseph had saved all their known world?  To have sacrificed the birthright, and his own sense of attachment, in the name of love.

Eve. Did you ever feel her conflict over the very first commandment?  In the one law about belonging in The Garden?  Like in the same conflict for Reuben, in the story how he lost his birth right, over a handmaid, in times when the law recognized handmaids as wives except with respect to an inheritance, though it had been Reuben who had saved Joseph after he was thought to have lost his inheritance.  And before Moses ever saved his people, there had been his sister Miriam who had saved Moses, risking her own life. In the name of sisterly love.


So wasn’t the conflict between Moses and Pharaoh – with the same deep emotions of his sister at the time that Moses had been born – over the recognition of the Spirit of God? After the God of Jacob once had saved all of Egypt, in a forgotten recognition of the God of Abraham? From out of The Call to KNOW – in sacrifice of Abraham’s son by Sarah – comes a recognized expectation to save. After Isaac is saved. And if you read the Quran, the same thing had happened to Abraham’s first born son. Unlike Ishmael, Isaac never physically leaves …perhaps because his faith is so shaken . . . as he is saved from Abraham’s image of God. Did you know of the involvement of a servant in the case of both these sons, after their own so personal involvement in the Akedah, then to find them a spouse?  In Ishmael’s case, it was the handmaid/ mother Hagar who found him a wife, as Ishmael learned over a time of discovery that he was born as no traditional servant. Behold the Post Traumatic Stress in the stories of the Victim, to make OUR lives a blessing …”bless those in need of healing”….. when no one would ever be the same!

Behold the conflict! “Though you are holier than I am, your God is not my God. Yet!”

Enough! Note the point of enough between Pharaoh and Moses, in the halving/ separation in this unsettling story, in asking for a place for his people to “freely” worship. Moses was challenging the Pharaoh who was connected himself to “his” people’s worship? Behold the Clericalism of the Pharaoh, where Church and State were one, who acted as mediator between the gods and the world of men. After death the Pharaoh became divine, identified with Osiris, the father of Horus and god of the dead, and passed on his sacred powers and position to the new Pharaoh, his son.  So compare / contrast the valuation connected to this blasphemy in Moses’ betrayal of the Pharaoh who had once saved him. Behold Moses, so perfectly formed by the Pharaoh, much like a prince of Egypt.  “We are not giving up our slaves …. over matters of worship.” Ask Abraham Lincoln, about April 15, 1863, on setting the captives free, without any compensation? Dealing with loss. Of not just the work force. “We are not sacrificing our slaves,” over issues of our god in Egypt!  Moses was asking the mediator as leader of the Church/State – a strong-willed monarch whose view of a rebellious slave-leader threatening old elites – to sell out existing religious belief in Egypt?  Was Moses asking Pharaoh to connect worship to love?

Behold the story of Liberation Theology, long before the controversy of Liberation Theology of John Paul ll with his South American theologians! Mission creep, threatening “our way of life!” Did you feel the mission creep of church or state, based upon the series of plagues from your God – the one that my people did not freely come to – in a challenge by your God, rather than my God? Or to my people? Compare / contrast, in the metrics of story, of blood in the story of Passover. Compare the children of Joseph to what the descendant of Isaac discovered, so much like the half of his mother’s family that Jacob came to discover, as he had moved in with them. The miscasting half of the family that he had never come to know, perhaps only heard about? When you never felt a part of a family that you did not know? The tradition of story – the Passover story – only makes sense in light of the larger narrative arc of God’s saving work with what always seems missing. In stories with various degrees of closeness, did you ever note the descendants of Joseph WERE related to the Egyptians, and not in a step-relationship. Who should be saved? Who should save, when these slaves were HALF- EGYPTIAN? 

“Mostly they are the same lives. The same stories, over and over,” writes David Remnick, the editor of The New Yorker. As the first plague and the last plague involved a plague of blood.

Behold the rock of power meeting the pluralistic theological sands – shifting sand – of your slaves. Compare / contrast the metrics of story, as the blood of the lamb had saved the first-born sons of the Israelites, the Pharaoh was not quite so blessed. And did you hear the voice of Isaac from the Akedah on the story of Passover, about the whereabouts of the lamb?  Did you ever paraphrase Isaac over his ‘lamb’ question? So where is The ‘Saving’ love of prophets, formed to be different than those living in the present day secular world?  When power and position of Church and State were One!  A perfect first-born son!  Behold The Call – behold all the chances in his very own Calls in the story – that the Pharaoh did not heed, as another Pharaoh once had when it came to the dream of the Prophet Joseph.  And as a result, behold the intense deep emotional grief so personal all over Egypt, over all the perfect first born, considered to be pure Egyptian, lost!

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Creighton Online Ministries
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Robert Mickens

Days of Awe

An old scout born in Minnesota (Wes Westrum), on worship and baseball, once said: Many go, few understand. It was two years ago when I read a piece in America magazine about the Akedah, the strange story read on Rosh Hashanah about how to somehow keep this God alive, what has been haunting me ever since?

Rosh Hashanah. As Jews hear once again with the start of the High Holy Days, the account of the binding of Isaac. When it has always been tough to be in such an alliance, with the true believers. When the story, like all good stories, was about the future. At what point do you relinquish whatever identity you have inherited or seemed to have helped build yourself – with Abraham, prepared to give everything that was important away. In a sacrifice.

In the story about the interior system of belief, creating something out of nothing, for sons who followed fathers, generation after generation. Abraham, Isaac, and later Jacob, with their torturous relationships, in an under-populated world populated by mostly people living in denial, if not fear, of God. In the approach of fathers to sons, the comparative approach to the real God by fathers to sons, in themes of birthrights, of power and might, on life and death, with that identity commandment. Which started with the knife, at birth, as Abraham had used a knife on Isaac when he was born. And the conflict in this story was over the method that Abraham in the story used for “evangelization.” So again the knife in this story, like he had used on Ishmael when he was twelve or thirteen. And Ishmael could ever forget what his father had done? As some kind of punishment, for what he had done?

Crazy people, having to start all over, with God or without Him. Sons, when this was all over, wrestling with the unrecognized birthright question…and passing it on, with such emotion. To keep something alive with passion — having to choose, on another Rosh Hashanah. This Abraham with a split family who wanted others to have the same powerful experience, as he had had. Except maybe not like between Hagar and Sarah. Abraham who had shown up at the same place at least a generation earlier with Ishmael, if you believed the Qoran, in the reading at the end of Ramadan, of Eid Al Fitr with the same scene played out, only between Abraham and Ishmael. And when it was tough to be in such an alliance, with the true believers over the truth…and what it was you were you going do with it, once you discovered how to pray? In these relationships arranged by your family, the torturous ones over fertility, for the father of faith to his sons and to his God – over God and the inheritance of God. Maybe with a craziness not unlike all the things that happened on September 11th, if you lost the proper perspective — considering how to communicate the ideas all about identity and who Abraham was – if not outright crazy, after circumcising sons and slaves with some kind of fertility vow, as part of the identity commandment which involved power and fertility? How so different than other men, in their day. No wonder the stories of Sarah’s laughter, when she recognized all of Abraham’s craziness.

Born with a pre-existing condition. This story was all about of Isaac as a son of Abraham who must have seemed so crazy. With an overall theme directed at intimations of attachment, like the attachment that I got at home from my parents and grandparents. To share that holiness that often was directed to a home. Or a neighborhood. Or a city. From a distinct sense of place in my life which had always been asserting itself, enfolding over time, staking a claim on a people. Before it was lost or overtaken. Or just taken anyway? When you had come to know something about a place.

That a nomad was supposed to resolve the crisis over belief, oy vey! Over shared belief. In a foreign land, outside the garden. When you wanted to share a heritage or a culture. In a quest to redeem society, and not just himself, to somehow – even when you seemed so old – confer a spirit about the past, in keeping this God alive. How can it be helped if a seed grows where it lands, once it’s been scattered, no matter from where your ancestors came.

Abraham dealing with inheritance, later to be spun as issues of birthright. No matter where you lived, the struggle, the anguish, in the comparative approach of fathers to sons. Sons who followed fathers, generation after generation.

The deepest part of Rosh Hashanah which came from stories about not just transporting a culture to a new place, but then somehow planting the culture. In a new place. People dealing with independence and multiculturalism, along with the changing roles of power.

When you came credentialed by the proper authorities, and you knew something about unrecognized painful sacrifices, and you desired to give your son up, for a brand new institution. Because you had fear over lost belief? Over your realization how much Hagar and Ishmael hated you — or about Sarah, who you had almost an incestuous relationship as your wife— passing on everything that she had planned about your family. And what was the risk that her kid would be crazy? Or already was crazy, as Abraham. Was crazy Abraham, at the end, acting for Sarah, as he considers a honor killing, wondering if a sacrifice would ever be recognized. To be blessed in the name of God, having to choose, when your prayers were so alive, and you wanted others to have the same bigger than life experience. When the French “blesser,” means to wound. So was it Abraham or Isaac, wondering if he had even mattered, begging to have had mattered, begging to be blessed, so that God would never forget, NEVER forget Abraham, just like THE Holocaust. Somehow the movement in the common stories, like the physics in the Akedah, or Eid Al Fitr, creating something out of nothing — like in the beginning. So why not just end it all on Mount Moriah, Noah-like, without the ark? And God, if He let him kill Isaac, then surely understood.

And so another Rosh Hashanah, as the Jewish world considers again how to keep something authentic alive about shared belief, about painful human sacrifice even after anesthesia had been invented. What exactly was Abraham having to choose, in his sacrifice on Mount Moriah? With an intensity of the stories, like the Akedah … to communicate the idea about what Abraham knew. About himself, about his life, and then the risk that God took with Abraham, with his kin and his wife — with his split family, with Ishmael, in his second chance with Isaac, and the quality of all of his relationships. Or not. The movement in this father of faith story, to confer a spirit in the name of God, in relationship — in the end, never feeling worthy through perfect human sacrifice. With an Irish intuitive sense of what was happening, what Germans call fingerspitzengefuhl – the fingertip feel that maybe your baseball coach understood — for me the story was all about the Abraham’s plan. He was never coming back, you know. Home. To Sarah. Not after he killed her son. When neither of them were ever coming back. Originally. These guys after all were nomads, for God sake. Can you imagine the shock of Sarah when she heard the story? Or the neighbors? About Abraham, the allegedly just man of his generation, who with his ego had a concept about only marrying within the tribe, marrying his father’s — but not his mother’s — daughter. Who would ever belief or forget this story? With the shame in the story, until the part about God’s intervention, as the past and the future on Mount Moriah at odds were reflected upon.

Stories about points of view, in a creator’s desire for perfection, in themes of birthrights, of power and might, in comparative approaches to God by fathers to sons on life and death, with all the eye-popping tension in the story between those who were not good enough with those who seemed to be too good, there is this indescribable pain which creates memory in a culture. To discover in the story somewhat unexpectedly, for sons who followed fathers, a Living God– power without domination – through the unforgettable pain of father and son trying to understand the manner to pray, in the story that transcends boundaries.

To confer a spirit about shared belief, in the name of God, with all the tension in the forgiveness story, with post traumatic stress on issues of trust, for the young, unknowingly dealing with a tragic hero — wondering first about the genetic affect and then about the environmental affect on Isaac, after a father was ready to take a knife to you. How did the wounded, like Isaac, still believe in his father of faith, the tragic hero who had married his father’s daughter? Would he ever accept authority again, or find his own recognized leadership role — in the dénouement of the story? In the age of multi-culturalism, as Isaac moved outside the enclave of Abraham’s home into his own, how did Isaac hold onto such crazy belief? When belief about Abraham’s God had to be so painful, in the remainder of his life. As he clearly needed some direction, after this experience, to find his own personal God.

How did the wounded, like Isaac, still believe afterward not only in the God of Abraham, but in his father of faith — this crazy nomad taking people from the ancient Semitic population, descendants of Noah’s eldest son, to places where they never had been? And now what would you do with the the God of Abraham?

The Akedah.jpg

Abraham, who discovered at the end of the story of his tremendous human longevity, was in the dénouement — in the release of tension in the dénouement — coming back home in his lameduck days, with his great sense of shame after wounding his own fertility. When the most serious of the deadly sins for Chosen People was pride, involving a desire for power, to be more important than others? As the plot becomes untied, dealing with loss of mostly power in old age, and starting over – to recognize the developments after the Akedah story, as Isaac, not Abraham, becomes the protagonist by the time of the dénouement of the story?

When the power of a culture is based upon a shared literature. In stories. “Mostly they are the same lives, the same stories, over and over,” wrote David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker. We endow our lives with stories, if the power in the ideals of a father – the bonds, the identity, and all the belief – is gonna survive. If the identity in a name is going to survive at another level. When you were forced to somehow start over. In new years, hearing the old stories which came out of Abraham-like relationships, and with all the unforgettable stories, in relationship. From our father in faith — the warrior sheik who in battle freed his nephew Lot – comes the story of people shamed by what they had to endure. The physics of blood of Abraham, telling things which a son had no capacity to imagine, with the long after-affects of war, on a surrounding society that celebrated war. Creating a lax atmosphere, around an old way of life. Watching eye-popping torture. Without knowing the details, or the affects on home lives afterwards. And with the need for revival.

To discover in stories an identity — your own identity — that you would one day find you really could not escape. In new beginning, circumcision based upon unconditional love, with the continuing themes of fertility and the Truth. Stories of crazy people — Chosen People — having to start all over. To recognize the shift by the end of the story that is now all about of Isaac, on Rosh Hashanah, if compounded belief is to stay with the descendants of Issac. After all of Abraham’s chances in life passing on that power in bonds, finally, like for Isaac, the return to the same place where he had started out as a young man, to begin again.

To gain access, in stories of discovery climbing mountains like Isaac, with divine intervention at the top of Mount Moriah — in a story about receiving strength and power in a crazy belief in this God today for daughters and sons who followed fathers — connecting with other critical thinkers, passing on in new years the power in bonds which had come out of the collective memory of the journeys of nomads.

Like in a dénouement of the story, passing on the power in bonds between your own people, passing on the Spirit in some kind of Abraham-like Crazy Glue,in a collective memory of forgiveness of others in the name of a forgiving God, on issues of inheritance and birth right. Accepting, like Isaac finally accepted his identity, as the son of the father of faith, as the ethnic enclaves broke apart and he needed a family to carry on the tradition. In another new year leading up to the Day of Atonement, this day was to commemorate a power in passing on the bonds of forgiveness.

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