“Take Your Only Son Isaac, Whom You Love . . .”

A couple of years ago I was sitting in the office of my spiritual director and was riveted by a large poster on the wall with this image. The picture is from a stained glass entitled “Isaac” located at Eglise de la Réconciliation in Taizé, France. What stands out to me is how innocent and completely subject the child is to circumstances beyond his control. I also notice one of Abraham’s hands turned outward and one inward, perhaps reflecting the father’s inward conflict.


“And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son. And he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went both of them together. And Isaac said to his father Abraham, ‘My father!’ And he said, ‘Here am I, my son.’ He said, ‘Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?’”      (Genesis 22:6-7)

This second image below is the top portion of the stained glass image. Now we see not only the hands that embrace, but also the anguish on Abraham’s face. His pleading eyes turned upward echoing his son’s question.

“When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son” (Genesis 22:9-10).