Dear St. Luke Community,
Recently, while standing in line at the supermarket, I glanced over at the magazines and I saw the usual, “Lose ten pounds,” “Closet makeovers” and other articles in the same vein. I couldn’t help but desire a different kind of magazine: one that might reflect a different kind of goal where beauty and feeling good is desired. I can’t tell you what the title of those articles would be, but I can tell you that they would reflect the kind of beauty that God reflects back to us while we sink into compassion for those who are suffering.
Granted, at times I want to forget it and put it all down, and in those moments the best remedy can be a mindless television show and a blanket. But that only works for so long and then the solution becomes part of the problem. As a Pastor, it’s possible that I spend more time than most people pondering life and death, lives lost, lives of those left behind, the mess of our government and a vaccine that may take a while. Which leaves me, like Jacob, wrestling with God, because, quite frankly, right now, God’s design seems pretty lousy (Genesis 32:22-31).
In this passage, after a long night of wrestling with God, Jacob emerges with a new name: Israel. The idea of wrestling with God and emerging with a new identity, a new way of being, a new purpose, gives me hope. Those hopeful moments don’t happen on the couch. They happen when I’m willing to engage with God, even when that engagement leads me into a wrestling match with God, at times in the mud, pinned down and mad, desperate for a blessing.
Imagining all of us emerging from this experience so profoundly changed by God, witnessing a profound cultural shift in what we value and how we treat one another, is as hopeful as I get. It gives me hope because it’s something that God does. If we’re willing to wrestle, engage, wrestle some more, and demand a blessing, we may just discover that we can become the very blessing we search for.
May it be so.
See you Sunday,
P.S. This is Communion Sunday, so please gather whatever elements you have in the house, and let’s remember together what is most meaningful – life itself and the new life offered us through the life and resurrection of Jesus Christ.