Sacrifice: That’s Not What I Desire

Giving it all up. Killing the fattened calf. Laying it all down. Raising the knife. A ritual preparation for the spilling of blood, the spilling of soul. The stripping away of life. On a white cloth altar. So you can see.

Better make sure it is worthy. The sacrifice I bring. Do I respect it enough to pierce my deepest emotion? Do I regret it enough to feel the fatal weight? Do I hate it enough to summon the power of death? Do I love it enough, to name it sacrifice?

The tablets command, love your sacrifice. The conscience demands, trust your sacrifice. This is the ancient pathway of the supposed faithful ones, to sacrifice.

That’s not what I desire.

Giving it all up. Making atonement for the mess uncontrolled. Laying it all down. To justify the magnitude of a moody repentance. A real-time dramatization of the guilt that torments and drowns. Communion of despair, community of self-mutilation, sacrifice my most beloved one. And then you will know, I can love.

That’s not what I desire.

The dripping blood, and naked scream. Scraped and bludgeoned in virtuous dress. The breath stopped stench of frozen flesh. Barely steaming. Like incense. To the heavens. 

Is it worthy enough? Fragile days already broken. Generous time spent too late. Monopoly money and success and prestige, forgotten by ashes of the judgment flame. Is any of it worthy enough to be a meaningful sacrifice? Can anything I give, reimburse your love?

That’s not what I desire, you say.

Because you know. It’s not enough. My hands sacrifice the wrong things. For the wrong reasons. And you are horrified, even at my ignorant best. As I slaughter my own brother. As I devastate my own days. As I self-justify my self-inflicted trials. As I crucify an innocent man. 

For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of Gods are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.  (Psalm 51:16-17)

Cling. Love. Fear. Trust. Like there is nothing else. Because there isn’t. I can’t kill enough in my life. I can’t slay enough in my heart. I can’t sacrifice enough in body soul speech thought and action. And that’s not what you desire, you say. 

Sacrifice, my sacrificial desire. 

It is finished, He said.

The temptation to sacrifice.