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?