Greetings from the hallowed land of Va-Cation!


Shall we pray as our week beings? (prayer source)

God beyond all seeing and knowing,
we meet you in the night of change and crisis,
and wrestle with you in the darkness of doubt.
Give us the will and spirit
to live faithfully and love as we are loved. Amen.


This week finds those of us in RCL land looking at the readings for Proper 13A, the eight Sunday after Pentecost for 2014.  Those readings are available to read here.

Jacob Wrestling
Jacob Wrestling

The continuing stories of the Patriarchs in Genesis (AKA the soap opera Father Abraham and His Dysfunctional Family) brings us to Jacob preparing to cross the river and face the brother he ripped off many years before.  And what better way to do that than a wrestling match?  But is he wrestling with God, or with the knowledge that his actions have left him feeling unfit to be in God’s presence?  On a more esoteric note, isn’t the life of faith an ongoing wrestling match with God?

Then there is Isaiah asking the wonderful question: Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy?  Why indeed?

Or maybe you are continuing with Romans.  Where is Paul leading you this week?

And finally we have Matthew.  No more weeds.  No small things hidden in big things.  Just a whole lot of food.  Is it a miraculous multiplication?  A miraculous sharing? And where is our abundance when we think we have nothing?

Loaves and Fish
Loaves and Fish

Where is the Spirit dragging you this week?  What great insights or questions have you found?

6 thoughts on “RCL Leanings: Wrestling with God Edition

  1. Well, I’ll start. Today is a “milestone” wedding anniversary for me, except that the divorce papers have just been signed and my children are with their father this week. So I’m paying attention to my own discomfort with the vulnerability of my soul. I would so much like to feel strong and positive and capable! I recognize the disciples’ distancing of themselves from the needy in suggesting that Jesus send them away so they could go buy food! I’m aware of Jesus’s own grief at the beginning of the passage (from losing John the Baptist), but I see him allow compassion to move him to healing work. His open heart and hands, even in a place of pain, are guiding images for me this week.

    What does it mean to acknowledge that I, too, might be hungry? (Don’t you think the disciples needed a break and a meal, too?) If I stay with the crowd and with Jesus, it’s messy and not in my control. I have the means to go out and buy my own candy bars, but it won’t satisfy me, really (Is. 55). Staying in the community connected to Jesus, I will be fed and will get to participate in feeding others. (So I’m not numbing out today with TV and sweets, I’m calling on my friends and reminding God of my need and the needs around me)

    Hauerwas and others have pointed out the contrast between Herod’s meal and Jesus’s meal, the banquet for the powerful that results in death versus the picnic for the needy that results in overflowing abundance.

    That’s maybe too much for a starter post, but it’s where the Spirit and the texts are meeting in my line of sight today.


    1. Charlotte, your post made me think of God’s words to Paul, “My strength is made greater in your weakness.” Hoping you are finding peace and comfort as you work through this week.


      1. Thanks, it is a full week. I’m taking a couple-day vacation today, hoping that time away will help me be more open to all that comes from within and without– and that my sermon-writing will flow from there.


  2. Wrestling with the text on Jacob wrestling and thinking that wrestling is how we grow. I think we see wrestling in other Bible stories, too. Job. Moses. Jonah. I had last week off so this one has been percolating in the back of my mind for almost two weeks. Lots of percolating but not yet a sermon, because I don’t know yet how this pours out. I hope it’s not overcooked!


  3. Winding down on a vacation with my grandsons, and will travel 11 hours (two layovers) plus 1 1/2 hour drive on Saturday. And, I neglected to bring my sermon notes along! So, I guess I will focus on the Gospel again. The “preacher’s ponderings” I am posting in this week’s e-Blast are: what was the real miracle? Does this story connect with the feeding of the Israelites in the wilderness? Or in our weekly Eucharist?


  4. I’m going with Romans again. The question I hope to address is: Who means so much to you, you’d be willing to sacrifice your own salvation to ensure theirs? If the answer is “no one,” what does that say about your own faith/discipleship? Paul anguished that the Jews, through and for whom Christ had come into the world, had rejected their own Messiah. Who causes us anguish today? I want to steer away from anti-Semitism and the current strife in Gaza (though those things will need to be mentioned) and go toward getting our hearts to break for those who break God’s heart.


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