n Tue, 11/10/2016 – 10:27
29th Sunday in Ordinary Time, 23rd Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 24
Year C (2015-2016)
Bible Book: Genesis
Verse: 22 – 31
Who of us has been assaulted by an unwelcome, unexpected visitor?
Each of us faces a different intruder: that regrettable act, that too-soon death of friendship or life, that unwelcome health diagnosis, that abandonment, that future-defining debt, that betrayal of trust, that abuse of power.
Jacob’s visitor physically wrestled with him. He injured him, deliberately throwing Jacob’s hip out of joint. And this encounter marked Jacob for the rest of his life—so much so that this encounter led to a name change. He was no longer known as Jacob, but instead as the God-Wrestler, Israel.
Jacob wrestled and saw the face of God. We too wrestle, and though we might not see God’s face directly, we know all-to-well these life-marking, forever life-altering encounters.
But like Jacob, we have a choice to make. We can let our wrestler define our future, or we can fight back against the strength of our invader. Jacob’s set forth these conditions: “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
In hope, we also can choose not to let the invader have the only voice. We can demand and seek out good from what does not seem good: new direction after a job loss, new wisdom and deepened empathy after our own regrettable act, new relationships after others are damaged.
Like the widow Jesus described, who refused to accept the injustice of her adversary, we can choose to move forward in action and protest, instead of accepting the easy in passive complacency. Our strength to choose may wax and wane and our struggle may almost consume us. Some days, when strength and courage seem far off, getting out of bed may be our victorious choice. Other days we may have the stamina and bravery to embark on a new course of study or share our health status with a judgmental partner.
We might forever walk with a limp, but the gospel is one of hope, of life, of resurrection, and our Creator longs for the redemption of all things, even those meant for evil.
As we journey and protest and struggle, may we experience, alongside the psalmist: “My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.”
To think about: How can we choose blessing today?
Written by: Rebecca J. Vander Meulen, Director, Mission and Community Development, Diocese of Niassa and Trained Churches, Channel of Hope Facilitator.
Author: van der Meulen R (Ms)