I am preaching this eveing at Reconciler. I am focusing on Genesis 32:22-32. It is a well known passage and that makes preaching more difficult for me.
But a couple of ideas are flying around that worth exploring...I want to spend some time inagining what it must have been like for Jacob to be waiting for his brother to arrive. What kind of "man" did he wrestle. There are all kinds of theories and they intrigue me, but the waiting is even more intriguing to me today.
A song has been running through my head all week: "Sometimes I feel like a motherless child." It plays in there somehow.
Anxiety, fear, anticipation and incredible lonliness all come to me as I read this story. The prevailing over God and humanity eventually has its say, but the initial struggle...a parallel there?...draws me in more.
This psalm is tied in with the lectionary.
A Prayer of David
1 Hear a just cause, O LORD; attend to my cry;
give ear to my prayer from lips free of deceit.
2 From you let my vindication come;
let your eyes see the right.
3 If you try my heart, if you visit me by night,
if you test me, you will find no wickedness in me;
my mouth does not transgress.
4 As for what others do, by the word of your lips
I have avoided the ways of the violent.
5 My steps have held fast to your paths;
my feet have not slipped.
6 I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God;
incline your ear to me, hear my words.
7 Wondrously show your steadfast love,
O saviour of those who seek refuge
from their adversaries at your right hand.
8 Guard me as the apple of the eye;
hide me in the shadow of your wings,
9 from the wicked who despoil me,
my deadly enemies who surround me.
10 They close their hearts to pity;
with their mouths they speak arrogantly.
11 They track me down;* now they surround me;
they set their eyes to cast me to the ground.
12 They are like a lion eager to tear,
like a young lion lurking in ambush.
13 Rise up, O LORD, confront them, overthrow them!
By your sword deliver my life from the wicked,
14 from mortalsâ€”by your hand, O LORDâ€”
from mortals whose portion in life is in this world.
May their bellies be filled with what you have stored up for them;
may their children have more than enough;
may they leave something over to their little ones.
15 As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness;
when I awake I shall be satisfied, beholding your likeness.
There are several emotions conveyed through this psalm. I think it speaks well to the ways in which we can grieve...in the ways in which we anticipate loss. Perhaps that is what I see in this scripture.
Jacob does not know what the next day will bring. Is he anticipating the worst? Perhaps. I know I am reading into the text somewhat, but it is an interesting notion.