7 November 2011: Dear College Community,
Greetings on the occasion of Eid ul-Azha. My understanding of this Muslim observance is that it commemorates the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his son Ishmael as an act of obedience to Allah, before Allah intervened to provide him with a sheep to sacrifice instead.
May your prayers and spiritual reflections during this time be blessed by Allah.
Jews and Christians have received the story of Abraham’s test in relation to his son Isaac, as related in Genesis 22. Years ago I published a paper that explored the relationship between this story and the words reported to have been heard by Jesus at his baptism at Mark 1:11, a relationship that culminated in the cross of Jesus. Still earlier than that my wife Jane crafted an etching of Abraham, knife in hand, collapsing in relief on a rock after an animal appeared for the sacrifice. In his book “Fear and Trembling” the 19th-century theologian Soren Kierkegaard explored what he thought must have been Abraham’s inner struggle.
The English word “sacrifice” is formed from two Latin words which together signify “making holy.” So a sacrifice is something that makes holy or is made holy, and the verb to sacrifice means to make holy. The spiritual blessing conveyed by the concept of sacrifice across the religions seems to be that as we give up something for God we are placing the presence and priorities of God before our own interests, bringing them to the center of our own being, expanding the inner space given over to God. As God is holy, we thereby become more holy, more dedicated to God.
May all of us on our various paths and in our own ways cultivate such dedication to God as we share in God’s work of reconciliation in the human community.
And may this week of Eid holiday be relaxing for all.
– Canon Titus, Principal, 7 November 2011
Last Updated ( Thursday, 13 September 2012 18:19 )