Wednesday, February 18 – Thursday, April 2
Sunday, March 8, 10:30am
Sunday, March 15
Deadline: Sunday, March 22
Jacob was trapped. He had cheated his father-in-law, Laban, and so was fleeing from his wrath. Then he hears that his brother Esau (who he’d also cheated) was coming from the other direction along with 400 men. Literally, he was between a rock and a hard place! (read the whole story in Genesis 31-33) Knowing he would encounter his brother in the morning, Jacob spends the night beside the ford of the River Jabbok. That night, he wrestled all night with an unnamed stranger. Who was this stranger? A man? An angel? God? Or perhaps that night, Jacob came face to face with himself and the kind of person he’d become. How do we “wrestle with angels” and the kind of persons we are? What do you have to confess to God today?
Win 1863, when he was eight years old, William Blake saw a flock of angels in a tree. Their bright wings “bespangled every bough like stars.” He also watched them in a field on the outskirts of London, threading through the oblivious haymakers. Cecil Collins, an English artist working in the second half of the 20th century, painted angels, like the one in the picture, as he saw them: inhabiting trees, blessing rivers, walking by the sea. In 1949 Jacques Prévert, a French surrealist poet, imagined a boxing match with an angel under magnesium lights. He ended up winded and defeated, blinded with feathers. Pia Northrup, a Danish poet, spots angels in her modern Danish kitchen (“An angel came in;/we fled from him/as though we had got too near the fire”). Poets and artists see strange things. Stories of angel appearances can be found throughout the bible, and angels play a big role in Jacob’s story this week. But angels, notable for their trespassing into the physical world, are no more expected or regarded in our day than they were in Blake’s.. How have angels—heavenly messengers—trespassed upon your life? Did they have a message for you or, like Jacob, seek to change you?
Jacob was a determined man; some would consider him to be ruthless. He was a con artist, a liar, and a manipulator. In fact, his name literally means “grabber.” Jacob was a man intent on getting the advantage, even when it meant defeating members of his own family. He managed to bargain away the birthright that belonged to Esau, his older brother. He disguised himself in order to steal a blessing from his old and blind father, Isaac. He managed to secure more than his share of the flocks he kept with his father-in-law, Laban. He was a “zero-sum” man, certain that there was only so much to go around, and he better grab while he could. Do you sometimes feel like Jacob? Do you worry that you’ll be left out or that there won’t be enough? How has your anxiety led you to take advantage of the people around you?
The LORD had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.“I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” God’s blessings are not supposed to be something we keep to ourselves. God’s blessing is something we are to share freely with others –like Jesus did—extending God’s love, forgiveness, and grace to all who feel lost, hurt, or excluded in our world. We are descendants of Abraham and Sarah; we are children of God and disciples of Jesus. We have a responsibility to share the Good News and build up one another. How can you be a blessing to others this week? How have you been a recipient of blessing?
Sunday Coffee & Cookies Fellowship
8:00 a.m.-noon, Monday – Thursday
Check our calendar or click below to read our newsletter.