These first floor neighbors of ours are just delightful. Gerneously hospitable and eager to take care of us who have no other family here with us. We are so blessed to have such friends here...
Well over a month ago they scheduled a visit with us. We would for sure need to come to their home for a meal for this holiday time. The first day of Korban is for family only... but we enjoyed many sweet visits the following days.
(warning... sad, bloody pictures of animal sacrifices below)
There were more than a dozen lambs ready, tied to trees in our complex the night before Korban and another dozen added by the time we were downstairs the next morning.
We went downstairs on the morning of the Korban holiday just to check things out... to see what we would see of our neighbors' celebration. This is part of the family day- the slaughtering of a lamb or a cow or maybe a camel (we didn't see that though) to commemorate Abraham's near sacrifice of his son. Our neighbors also tell us that they believe the lambs they slaughter will help them on judgement day to cross into heaven.
It was sad. Even sadder than I expected. I thought that slaughtering an animal to be approved as "halal" meat meant that a prayer was prayed over them before they were killed. It also means that the animal is fully bled to death. Our local friends looked on these sacrifices as such a joyful thing... the lamb will certainly go to heaven. And for more than one reason it was just not so joyful for us.
As Christians on this bloody yet beautiful still ground, with these neighbors and their feasting and rejoicing... we find ourselves desperately hungry to communicate the far greater celebration that ought to be taking place! Why settle for celebrating Abraham's near sacrifice of the son he loved for ten or twelve years... when we can celebrate the God of the universe sending his Son of all eternity to enter into our world? We can celebrate the craziest, most undeserved and absolutely satisfying (not hopefully helpful) Gift...this Perfect in Holiness and Happiness God leading His own Son to be slaughtered, to die a bloody, spat upon, crucified death to take the eternal death that we deserve for our sin, to trade our condemnation for forgiveness and life forever with Him?
Oh may there be open doors and hearts and tongues and ears...
After the lamb has died, there is a slit made in on hind leg and the skin is blown into, the lamb blows up very much like a balloon and the skin is separated from the meat to make it easier to prepare.
As the kids were watching and playing, Isaiah kept laughing at silly jokes from the guy in the dark red jacket. But at the end, Isaiah remembered the blood marks on his forehead (just a way to remember the sacrifice) more than any of his goofball antics.
Oh may there be eyes to see...
Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!