Lectionary Blogging – Genesis 28:10-19

Or maybe 28:10-22. The lectionary cuts things off awkwardly, and I’m not sure Jacob’s response should be disconnected. Also, newsflash, Stewardship Sunday isn’t the only time we are allowed to talk about generous, grateful giving. Ahem.

Also, please read all the things between last week’s lectionary reading (Gen. 25:19-34) and this one. This family, y’all.

But now, the story narrows to Jacob, who is on his way to find a wife. Thanks to that nasty business about the birthright, he’s already the heir to Isaac’s estate. But God appears to him in a dream, speaking to him with similar language to that God used with Abraham about the multitude of their descendants and the passing of blessing through them. God makes it clear that Jacob is the heir of the covenant as well as the family holdings.

Jacob is a biblical figure who kind of irks me. He’s deceptive and sneaky and there’s an episode coming up with his wife to be, Rachel, that reminds me a bit too much of the current president. But God is forever displaying interesting choices in the people who play roles in her story, and most of the time I’m thankful for that.

Jacob’s dream of the angels going up and down on a stairway between earth and heaven is certainly an evocative image, and there’s something in it that is more than a dream. It suggests that what is being revealed to Jacob is the reality that is hidden most of the time – that there is an ongoing interaction between earth and heaven that is not seen by mortals. When Jacob wakes, it is with the realization that heaven is here, on the very ground he inhabits, particularly in the “thin space” he is currently occupying, but also in the very fiber of the world. The point of the vision isn’t the vision, the point is what it tells him about the waking world.

Well, this is proving to be a heck of a week, and this post which I started on Tuesday is still pretty sparse, but it’s what I have at the moment. Preachers, where are you going with this (please don’t come to me with that pillar and oil scene, ack)? Listeners, what do you see here? Where does the Jacob story intersect with your life?

2 Comments Add yours

  1. James Hart Brumm says:

    I am expanding the pericope quite a bit–using Genesis 27: 1-23, 30-37, 41-45, 28:10-19a–and so also picking up on some stuff you preached last Sunday, when I didn’t preach. But I am visiting a congregation for four Sunday, and spending all four dealing with Jacob, and his dreaming, and our own dreams and nightmares. For me, this week is about climbing out of the holes we put ourselves in, and how, as Jacob says, “God is in this place,” and how the angels are not only ascending the stairs/ladder, but also descending. We work ourselves into these big holes, and God climbs down in them to help us. God doesn’t, necessarily, pull us out of the hole, at least not right away, because there are things for us to learn there. But God is there with us, in all sorts of places.

    I am asking the congregation to sing a hymn about this, to ABERYSTWYTH:

    God is truly in this place,
    where we battle, kin with kin,
    as we scheme and plot and chase
    more for us, a special in.
    While we struggle, flesh to flesh,
    Love, who follows all we do,
    makes the stew of our lives fresh,
    spins deceits toward something true.

    God is truly in this place!
    Where our pillow is a stone
    as we sleep with our disgrace
    and despair, there we are shown
    Hope has not surrendered yet.
    Good News, lovely, fearsome, odd,
    meets the troubles we abet,
    makes our lives a house for God.

    God is true wherever we
    meet the new day, flaws and all,
    wrestling with uncertainty.
    Still, we hear our Maker’s call:
    even when we do not know,
    even when faith cannot trace
    each point through life’s messy flow,
    our God truly shares our place.

    Copyright © 2011, Brummhart Publishing, DeFreestville, NY.

  2. aboksu says:

    I’ll be looking at how Jacob got it wrong. Instead of “What a wonderful dream! What wonderful promises! What a great God!” he got, “what an awesome place I stumbled upon accidentally.” In response to the dream, he made a contract based on several “If, Then” statements, which demanded much of God and little of himself. Building on that, I’ll be moving to how we, too, often misinterpret to our own advantage. I’m twinning this with the parable of wheat and tares in the gospel…. somehow.

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