Inoculate Me

God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham! Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains that I shall show you.” – Genesis 22:1-2 (NRSV)

Seventeen years ago, I took my firstborn for immunization shots.

I held her down on the table while the doctor injected the virus-laden vaccine. I recall the primal wail through beet red cheeks, the ironic “I love Daddy” bib on her chest and the lump in my throat.

Few Bible passages are more disturbing than the binding and near-sacrifice of Isaac. I hesitate to feature this story in Sunday worship. It’s definitely not advantageous for recruiting young families. Why should anyone affirm, let alone worship, such a God?

Before we take scissors to our Bibles, let’s take a magnifying glass to ourselves. Parents sometimes sacrifice children on the altars of our careers and smartphones. Our government sacrifices children on the altar of defense spending while cutting food stamps and education. We sacrifice future generations by accelerating, rather than combating, climate change.

God prevented the sacrifice of Abraham’s son. The story is like a vaccine injected into the soul of humanity to keep us from harming the most vulnerable. It says, “God rejects child sacrifice. Don’t do it. Ever.”

Today my daughter is a healthy teen. On the morning of writing this devotion, she launched a petition to transition her high school to renewable energy. Both vaccines appeared to have worked.

Divine Healer, inoculate me against harming the children of today and tomorrow.

ddauthormattlaney2014.pngAbout the Author
Matt Laney is the Senior Pastor of Virginia Highland Church UCC in Atlanta, GA and the author of Pride Wars, a fantasy series published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for Young Readers. The first two books, The Spinner Prince and The Four Guardians are available now.