Arguably (or maybe not even arguably), the most difficult story in scripture is Genesis 22:1-14. Also terrifyingly known as "The Sacrifice of Isaac" or, as the Jewish tradition more often translates it, "The Binding of Isaac." In any case it's awful.
As you read Genesis 22:1-14 you will note, with jaw probably dropped, that God asks Abraham to sacrifice his beloved son, Isaac. We of course think, "How could a loving God even begin to make such a command, even if at the end it's revealed to Abraham and his son (although we know it from the first) that this is just a test? A way God can see if Abraham is truly faithful and worthy of the greatest of blessings: fathering more descendants than there are grains of sand or stars in the sky?"
All most-worthy earnest questioning aside, the Comic Lens invites you to look at this text a bit differently. (Quelle surprise.) As we know, "Isaac" also means "He Who Laughs" or, to make things shorthand, "Laughter."
How does the text change for you if you substitute "Laughter" for "Isaac"?
22 Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
2 Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Laughter—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”
3 Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his Laughter. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. 4 On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. 5 He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and Laughter go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.”
6 Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Laughter, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, 7 Laughter spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?”
“Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.
“The fire and wood are here,” Laughter said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”
8 Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.
9 When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound Laughter and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay him.
11 But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
12 “Do not lay a hand on Laughter,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your Laughter."
13 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”
The Good News of God for the People of God! Thanks be to God!
And have a happy, inspired 4th. Seems to me those of us who accept the mantle of "biblical people,"/"biblically-based Americans," can and should spend the day thinking about, being grateful for, and seeking God's counsel as to ways our most precious - and eternally preserved - ancestor, Laughter, can and needs to shape who we are and how we navigate the journey God has called us upon for such a time as this.