Tuesday, January 17, 2012


It's one of the most poignant and heart wrenching scenes of the final Harry Potter book. Harry stands at the edge of the forest, gathering his courage to face his final showdown with Voldemort.

He has known for a while that a lot was going to be asked of him. But now the true enormity of his task stands before him. He believes this meeting will cost him his life. Because now he knows he's more than just "The Boy Who Lived." He knows that he's more than simply "The Chosen One." And knowing the cost, he still chooses to make that walk.

His only request? It's as poignant as the situation itself: "You'll stay with me?" He asks to make that walk with the spirits of Lily, James, Sirius, Lupin...his loved ones...by his side.

[Abraham] said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.” Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?” “Yes, my son?” Abraham replied. “The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together. (Genesis 22:5-8)

I've always read this story and thought of what it must have cost Abraham. But today, I'm moved by the faith of his son.

After all, the passage portrays a shared faith between Abraham and Isaac. It says "we will worship." Isaac was committed to his relationship to God. Committed enough to travel three days away to worship together with his father. And he must have known it was a significant journey. Abraham knew the whole time. He knew. But Isaac gets to figure it out.

Have you ever had a moment when you realize you're in for more than you thought you originally bargained for? There's nothing quite like that feeling. Your stomach drops. The blood drains from your head. The world zoom in and zooms out at the same time. It's an epiphany of the most unique kind.

There's a choice to make in that moment. Maybe there's a way out. How committed are you? Do you believe in this thing as much as you thought you did? "Is this a hill worth dying on?" my old teacher might ask. Because if it's not, now is the time to bail.

If there's no way out -- if you're in-for-an-inch-in-for-a-mile, there's still a choice to make. Do be dragged along, or to accept the new insight and be driven by it. However scared you may be, do you take that step into the woods with commitment and purpose?

I wonder when Isaac's suspicions started. When he started to realize there was more to this trip than his dad was letting on. I wonder if he knew the answer to his question before he asked.

"Where is the lamb?"
"God himself will provide."

I wonder if it all clicked into place. If his stomach dropped through the ground. If a million thoughts and doubts and and questions and options raced through his mind.

All I know is this:  The two of them went on together. Isaac took one committed step after another. Believing this meeting would cost him his life. But having his father at his side.

"You'll stay with me?"
"I will be with you, even to the end." (Matthew 28:20)

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