I've noticed a weirdest thing, and I'm not quite sure how I feel about it. The thing is that I'm more and more inclining toward the Old Testament. Me, who used to be crazy about Greek and the New Testament! I'm looking at my sermons I've written over the last four months, and the Old Testament texts and narratives win by far. There is something in these ancient stories that draws me to them like magic. The sad thing is that I don't know a single word in Hebrew, I guess I really should have listened to Dr A. N.'s advice and should have taken at least the beginners course ("You'll pick it up like nothing, you speak a language with 14 cases as your native language," she used to say. I used to smile politely. Never went to any of her classes.) So I'm stuck with cheap online dictionaries and commentaries now. One fine day when I start my PhD studies I'll go and take a Hebrew class for beginners, looking like a nerdy kid straight out of high school. Yes, that's my plan.
So I'm writing this sermon for the coming Sabbath, my last one here in Tartu church (please don't tell my church members their pastor is writing a sermon two days before preaching - although I have a good reason for doing it that late this week). And I'm preaching my Christmas sermon on Abraham sacrificing Isaac - that must be the first time anyone does that haha. But seriously speaking, I'm telling the story of Abraham having to let go. And the more I look into the story the more amazed I get. Because in the chapter before this weird sacrifice story Abraham has to let Ismael go. And Ismael is kind of a living memorial of his past, of his bad choices and lack of faith. But still Abraham is reluctant letting him go (like any proper father would be). And now, after already losing one son, God asks him to sacrifice the other boy, too, the one that represents future and dreams and blessings and covenant and all that. God is like, you've let go of your past, now let go of your future, too. And the most beautiful moment, the culmination comes after he's been on his way to that mount for three days, and I think he has finally got it after all that time, for when the boy asks about the sacrificial animal, Abraham nails it: GOD WILL PROVIDE. He's this old guy who has lost his past and is about to lose his future, too, and in this vacuum, in this nothingness he gets the answer right. God. Only God. Past doesn't matter, future doesn't matter, only God matters, and God is enough.
Here you go. My Christmas sermon.