When we lived in Egypt, we had the opportunity to witness a significant Muslim holiday called Eid Al Adha. This holiday signifies the ram provided by God to take the place of Abraham’s son. (Muslims say this son was Ishmael…that is for another time.)
The central component to this holiday is the slaughtering of an animal to be used as a family’s holiday dinner. No good Muslim would let Walmart do the slaughtering. No, no. The animals are gathered in a central location in town and the slaughter commences right after morning prayer.
Literally hundreds of sheep, goats, bulls, and even camels are killed right there in the center of town with their blood running down the streets. If you have never seen an animal killed, I wouldn’t recommend this holiday being your first go around.
I can remember standing there,though, watching these animals go down one after another, and finally understanding something about sacrifice. We read about Old Testament sacrifices with such sterility that we lose sight of the fact that blood is really shed and life is really lost.
These next two weeks will give us a glimpse of sacrifice and offering. This week, we cover the Guilt Offering, the Grain Offering, and the Peace Offering. We will also take the Lord’s Supper together in the worship gathering, reminding us of another bloody sacrifice.