A Year in the Bible: Torah Patriarchs (Jacob & Joseph)
Genesis 27:1-4, 15-23, 28:10-17 (John 1:50-51)
Genesis 32:[9-13] 22-30 (Mark 14:32-36)
Genesis 39:1-23 (Matthew 5:11-12)
Genesis 37:3-8, 17b-22, 26-34; 50:15-21 (Luke 6:35)
This week's sermon turns to the patriarch Jacob (Israel). Up to this point in the story, we have seen this "heel" work through trickery and deception to accomplish a stolen birthright and blessing from his brother and father. As the favored child of his mother, Jacob had to run for his life only to be tricked by his father-in-law. Now, he has nothing, using a rock for a pillow! He is alone and vulnerable, the place were most of us come, to the end of ourselves. It is only here that God can transform his heart. It is only here that God can reveal truth to him. It is here where Jacob begins to see his roll not to be blessed by God, but what it means to be a blessing to others. Through Jacob, God will continue the promise of a conduit of blessing to the world.
In this place of complete vulnerability, Jacob has a vision of a ladder reaching up to heaven. He sees angels ascending and descending on the ladder. When he awakens, he declares, surely God was in this place and I didn't even know it. How many times are we aware of the presence of God around us? How often do we tune in and participate in the available presence of God?
It is all too easy for us to disregard God's presence in our lives. Its not anything we do intentionally, which is exactly the point. Recognizing the presence of God in our lives requires intentionality. We must choose to participate in the kingdom of God. We must make the conscious choice to say, "Today, I will be keenly aware of God's movement in my life and in my relationships with others."
When we make this choice to participate in God's activities we are also making a statement about the way we live out our lives. This intentional living also requires us to put aside our selfish desires and instead live outside our selves, into the lives of others. Just like Jacob, we must come to realize that we are called to be a conduit of blessing to the world. It is not about ME. But instead, it is about the grace of God expressed most fully and completely in Jesus Christ.
Additionally, a recognition of God's presence in our lives and a sharing of these experiences allows us to bless others as well. Testimonials are good stories that are also God stories that allow others to receive hope, forgiveness, and grace in their own lives. Our shared experiences unite us and strengthen our common bond as children of God.
Surely God is in this place. Are we aware?