Watercolour pattern of deep oranges and browns, with lighter colours at the sides. Text over the top: The Spirit declares (a poem for Pentecost, part inspired by the book of Hebrews)

The Spirit declares (a poem for Pentecost – part inspired by the book of Hebrews)

Last week I found out a friend was preaching on the book of Hebrews on the day of Pentecost (today). I mentioned that last year I’d written a poem for Pentecost that I was particularly proud of. He asked if it related to the topic of priests and priesthood, to which the answer was, “No, but maybe I will have one by this evening.”

I didn’t quite manage to finish the poem that day, but I did write one.

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House plant near a desk that holds up a white canvas with words from Micah 6:8 on them; the top of the canvas is out of shot but the words "walk humbly" are visible. Text over the top: The truth of worship: a letter to Abraham

The truth of worship: a letter to Abraham

This is part of the series of letters I’m writing to people listed in Hebrews 11 as the “cloud of witnesses” who went before us. Today’s is to Abraham and in particular the part of his story where he very nearly sacrifices Isaac. The story is in Genesis 22, though Genesis 18:1–15 and Genesis 21:1–7 provide context.

Jews refer to the (non-)sacrifice of Isaac as the “Akedah.” Some of what I write in this post draws on a book by scholar Aaron Koller: Unbinding Isaac: The Significance of the Akedah for Modern Jewish Thought (2020: Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press).

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