Isaac by Madeleine L’Engle

Isaac
Madeleine L’Engle

From now on, no fathers are to be trusted.
I know.
I felt the knife at my throat before the angel
stopped my father’s hand.

How did it come to that?
The three day journey to Mount Moriah
and the sharpened blade
and I, laid on the stone slab,
prepared for sacrifice?
I, the great gift of my parents’ old age,
so unexpected as to cause them laughter,
and then, when the miracle came,
to bring them laughter,
to be laughter, Isaac, I—

What kind of God the Father would ask Abraham,
Abraham, his son,
to offer up Isaac, his son.
Why ask?
Why demand obedience for such a wanton sacrifice?
How can my father’s Father be a God of love?
How could my father sharpen the knife?

No, fathers are not to be trusted.

And when my father’s Father
sent his Son up the mountain for an offering
who, then, demanded such a sacrifice?
Who was it he obeyed
who sent no angel
and no ram?
Who was the father of my father’s Father?

But, my father said, there is no Father’s father.

Isaac: my very name means laughter,
and I know only tears.

Would I laugh
if I could understand
that my father’s Father
and the Son
and the ram caught by the horns
are one?
are one? are one

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