Friday, October 18, 2013

Eid al Adha

In the mornings I have about 10 minutes with my 6 grade class to make any announcements, lead a short devotion with them and pray before the day gets started. Because I have such an eclectic group of students with Christian, Muslim, Jewish, and Hindu backgrounds, I thought I would teach the gospel story by going through the Bible. We started in the beginning and have just made it to Abraham. We've been looking at God's promise to Abraham of both a son in his old age and  also that he would be the father of many nations. 

Today we got to the passage in Genesis 22 where God tests Abraham's faithfulness in being willing to sacrifice his only son, Isaac. I tried to point out the parallels to the kids of the Son  who was sacrificed for us. God provided a ram that was the replacent sacrifice, but because if Abraham's faithfulness, he is blessed richly. God want our complete trust in Him, but it took the death of his only Son for that to work. 

I thought it was really interesting to note that several times in the passage, God tells Abraham to take his only son (Gen.22:2) this is reiterated again in verse 16 "your son, your only son.." Again there is the parallel to God and the sacrifice if His one and only son Jesus Christ, but what confused me was the fact that Abraham already had another son, Ishmael.

God's promise to Abreham of making him a mighty nation was not through Ishmael, but through the son of his promise, Isaac.  If you go back to Genesis 21:12, God says to Abraham, "through Isaac shall your offspring be named. "

This Bible lesson could not have been planned for better timing because this past week Muslims around the world  celebrated the holiday, Eid al Adha (aka Id el Kabir).  Islam claims Abraham as their forefather, but unlike the Christians and Jews, it is not through Isaac, but through Ishmael. This particular holiday celebrates God providing a ram right as Abraham is about to kill Ishmael. Talk about crazy and backwards. (Evidently the angel Gabriel told Muhammad to change some things in the ancient scripts)

Muslims throughout the world still make a yearly sacrifice in remembrance. On the one hand, I feel as if I've been privileged to have just a glimpse of what it would have been like in Jerusalem during Jesus's time as people came to bring their sacrifices of atonement. On the other hand, my heart has been so burdened by the thought that these people still live in bondage. It is a works based religion where they must make this yearly sacrifice, when the one, true sacrifice has already come once and for all! 

For the past several weeks the city has been overrun with male sheep and goats. All the throughout the city you would see herds of these animals on the side of the roads, while small tents have been pitched for the shepherds or people overseeing the animals. 

Being a country with a high Muslim population, on Tuesday and Wednesday, we had a national holiday which meant no work or school for most people. 

So we took advantage of the break and headed to the beach. On our way to Lagos on Tuesday, we got to drive past villages where half of the people were dressed up in there finest onkara and were headed to the local mosque. Later, as we were driving home, I could see barbecues set up with the goat meat roasting over the coals. 

Goat kebab anyone?

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