Seventh Word

“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”

Luke 23:46

Jesus hands himself to God in a coda about faith, will, and outcome.

Soren Kierkegaard was fascinated by the faith Abraham, who God told to sacrifice his only son, Isaac. Isaac was a miracle child, born to the elderly Abraham and Sarah. God promised Abraham his son would be father of many nations, yet He was asking Abraham to kill him. 

Kierkegaard imagines trying to convince Abraham that he “could confess his lack of courage, so that God Himself must take Isaac, if He would have him.”

Kierkegaard suggests in Fear and Trembling that, “infinite resignation is the last stage prior to faith,” and that the faith that follows is belief in an unlikely positive outcome. Then, absurdly, the outcome is positive.

Abraham knows he won’t kill his son, but Isaac doesn’t. The absurdity of the story – like Jesus’ welcoming of the criminal into paradise – “is not identical with the improbable, the unexpected, the unforeseen.” Instead it is intended, the result of God testing Abraham, and Abraham testing God.

Bobby Bare sang, in the song, Drop Kick Me Jesus Through the Goal Posts of Life,”

Make me, oh make me Lord more than I am
Make me a piece in your master game plan
Free from the earthly tempestion below
I've got the will Lord if you've got the toe

Faith isn’t belief in doctrine. Faith is will, what Epictetus called prohairesis, a choice to follow the uncomfortable path knowing its resolution but still filled with doubt.

Jesus illustrates throughout his brutal and public death, that the reciprocity of forgiveness, our connection to each other through love and narrative is the path to our redemption. We should undertake the fraught journey with the resignation and faith of Abraham, welcoming the absurdity of our trip “through the heart of them righteous uprights”

Choral Response: Quando corpus morietur, Stabat Mater, Pergolesi

Hymn in Response: Were you there?