The Binding of IsaacLast Sunday I was asked to preach three services at my sponsoring parish, St. Wilfrid of York Episcopal Church in Huntington Beach, CA. I had never preached three services before, and I can honestly say, that by the end of the day, especially after getting out of bed at 4:30 am to get there, was quite challenging. Of the three readings offered from the Revised Common Lectionary I choose to preach about the famous story from Genesis of the Binding of Isaac. Once the website posts the audio version of my sermon I’ll link it here, but I wanted to share something which was one of those God Moments which ran parallel with my experience of sharing with the people of St. Wilfrids.

As I prepared the sermon, as stated in my spiritual direction moment, I pondered the text in which Abraham calls the top of the mountain, “The Lord will provide.” I had mentioned in my sermon that Karl Barth said that the Latin root for provide means “before.” I was able to point out that the fascinating thing about that passage was that God provides before we know it, or can see it; as best displayed in the story by the ram caught in the thicket which Abraham does not see until after the angel stops him from sacrificing his son, Isaac.

That’s all well and good, and typical exegetical work, no big deal…but something was also happening in my own life. Over the past two or three weeks I got a call from a former parishioner telling me that a person I’ve known very well, and used to see quite often with his partner, was told he had a year to live. Both of these people were no longer involved in the community, and one had pulled away from his religious leanings, but for some reason did not push me away. I was told that I could be one of their few links to faith, and one who could be accepted as intimate enough to help both of them in this journey.

I was caught in a dilemma. I didn’t have that much contact anymore since moving, and though my past visits had grown longer in duration, it was almost null and void by the fact that I had moved. I was not sure how I could call out of the blue without saying, “I heard the news.” Yes, I could do this, but I was afraid of sounding shallow right out of the starting gate. I waited a short while to see if they might call me, and I heard nothing.

Last Sunday as I was sitting in my spot up by that altar I was able to look out at the congregation. I looked over and saw the one partner and did a double take (as far as I know it had been months and months since he had been in church). When he saw me look over twice, and gleam a big smile, he did the same. Then, after a few minutes I saw his partner enter walking slowly with his cane.

It seems when they heard I was preaching, they decided to go to church, and after the service we were able to talk, and I was able to walk them to their car, and I made sure they had ways to contact me. I am not sure what will happen, or when, but I offered to be available.

My worry as to how to establish this conversation was taken care of two weeks ago when they decided to hear me preach, but I didn’t know it.

The Lord will provide.