Deepest Intentions

Deepest Intentions

Author: The Rev. Dr. David Bridges, Priest
April 12, 2021

In the Bible book of Genesis, chapter 22, we read the story of God asking Abraham to offer his son, Isaac, as a burnt offering sacrifice. Abraham and Sarah had been promised a son, even though they were both nearly 100 years old.

Isaac was a very precious gift of God. Being asked to offer that special child on an altar of sacrifice would have been a most devastating request. However, Abraham did not seem to hesitate, although he must have been deeply troubled.

As the story continues, it seems that Isaac did not resist being tied-up and placed on the altar of sacrifice. Abraham was just about to plunge the knife into his son when an angel appeared and stopped him, saying, “Do not harm the boy, for now I know you truly fear God.” (v. 11,12)

I have always wondered what it would take for a father to sacrifice his son, and what it would be like for the son to submit to the sacrifice. After all, if your father were 100 years old, it wouldn’t seem hard to get free and run away.

So what does this story mean for us? God will never literally ask us to sacrifice our children, or ask them to submit to a sacrifice, but, we are being asked to sacrifice something; our deepest intentions.

What are the thoughts and attitudes we hold dearest? What are our deepest wishes and intentions? Are we totally focused on our wants and desires? Are we focused only on “self” and not on the bigger picture of how we fit-in with the world around us?

If our deepest intentions are focused only on self, we cannot focus on the kingdom of God and its work of redemption and reconciliation. Self does not leave room for God; it pushes-out Godly thoughts and crowds our minds with the noise of darkness.

The evidence of the prominence of self is partly visible through the acts of violence and hatred being displayed openly; almost daily. The deepest intentions of many among us are turmoil and destruction. And, killing does not seem to shock us much anymore.

When we hear about these senseless acts of violence occurring so often, the events seem to run together in a gruesome continuum. We may be closer to another civil war or revolution than ever in our lifetime.

Reasonableness is disappearing. Productive dialog is extinct. Sensibleness has left the building. Violence reigns. We may be experiencing the end of civilized society. All of this is in-line with prophecy and the promises of Jesus.

The only answer is the kingdom of God. Jesus has conquered sin and death, but the seeming majority of our societies don’t care. Self is so prominent that the kingdom has no place in the majority of hearts and minds.

I pray that your deepest intentions will be shifted toward God. Not some empty religious mumbo-jumbo, but a real spiritual encounter with the real risen Christ.

Blessings and Peace to you All,
Fr. David+


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