FAITH: Grace by Kathleen Norris

November 4, 2014

From Amazing Grace Jacob’s theophany, his dream of angels on a stairway to Heaven, strikes me as an appealing tale of unmerited grace.  Here’s a man who has just deceived his father and cheated his brother out of an inheritance.  But God’s response to finding Jacob vulnerable, sleeping all alone in open country, is not to strike him down for his sins but to give him a blessing. Jacob wakes from the dream in awe, exclaiming, “Surely the Lord is in this place – and I did not know it!”  For once, his better instincts take hold, and he responds by worshiping God.  He takes the stone that he’d kept close by all night, perhaps to use as a weapon if a wild animal, or his furious brother Esau, were to [...]

PEACEBUILDING: The Journey Toward Reconciliation, by John Paul Lederach

September 18, 2014

From The Journey Toward Reconciliation The story of Esau and Jacob has especially shaped the way I understand and look at reconciliation.  It has provided me with a guiding framework for the other stories and ideas that I will explore.  Let me start with the narrative in Genesis, chapters 25-33. Esau and Jacob are brothers, sons of Isaac and Rebecca.  Esau is the firstborn, the hunter, and the pride of his father’s eyes.  Jacob stays near home and close to his mother.  When Isaac is old and nearly blind, he calls Esau to bless him as the firstborn son. Esau sets out to hunt for game to roast as the meal preceding that generational blessing.  While he is gone, Rebecca shows Jacob how to trick the old man into believing [...]

SERMON: The Spirit Of Prayer by Francis de Sales

March 10, 2013

We have not to speak of the efficient cause of prayer.  It is necessary for us to know, then, who can and who ought to pray.  The question would soon be decided were we to say that all can pray and that all ought to do so.  But in order the better to satisfy the mind, we shall treat this subject at greater length. In the first place we must realize that God cannot pray at all, since prayer is a petition which is made by grace and requires that we know that we are in need of something, for we are not accustomed to ask for that which we already possess.  Well, God can ask for nothing through grace, but rather, he does everything by divine authority.  Moreover, he cannot have need of anything, since he possesses everything.  It is [...]

MORNING DEW: Jacob and the Angel, by Madeleine L’Engle

February 3, 2013

From Ladder of Angels Mortal and angel wrestle through the night, Jacob struggling, wildly wondering why An angel should choose man for this strange fight. The crystal ladder breaks the fragile sky As angels watch the two throughout the dark. Towards dawn the angel smites tired Jacob’s thigh; Forever will he bear the wound and mark God’s messenger has left him. And the light Of all the watching angels rises high; The crystal ladder breaks the fragile sky. The world is hushed and still; the earth is stark, Astonished at the angel’s choice and Jacob’s cry. Forever will he bear the wound and mark The Lord has left to show his humble might. All those who wrestle thus must surely die To live once more to show the [...]