The Divine Lunge

Genesis 32:22-31 – The 8th Sunday of Ordinary Time – for August 3, 2014

“Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak.” (Genesis 32:24)

Jacob traveled to seek favor—forgiveness—from his brother Esau.

Jacob sent his family on ahead and remained by the River Jabbok.

River. Sunset. Night approaching...
River. Sunset. Night approaching…

It was night, with the heat of the day finally easing. The Jabbok flowed, a liquid ribbon of life among the arid hills and barren ridges. Stars glittered overhead, nocturnal jewels. A breeze soothed Jacob’s skin, carrying the smoky remnants of old campfires and lingering fragrance of his departed family.

Jacob was alone, and yet not alone.

In a darkness only partly caused by night, Jacob waited. He was alone with the countless promises that he’d broken and made and broken again, the old lies he’d crafted and sold as the truth, the shameful acts that moaned from the hidden corners of his soul.

Jacob was alone, and yet not alone.

Why did he wait?

Why had he sent his wives and children across the Jabbok?

Had Jacob intuited something, in the murmuring of the river or in the whisper of wind, which had prompted him to stay?

And then, so said Genesis, a man wrestled Jacob. It would be a brutal struggle, lasting the night, without rules, with neither adversary relenting, with Jacob sustaining injury and still fighting on.

Like Jacob we live much of our lives in darkness. But if we’re busy-busy from dawn to dusk, or if we have that rare stretch of dreamless sleep, we pretend to temporarily escape or ignore the darkness. Though often enough, the darkness of our fears find us. Continue reading →

Trust Dad

Genesis 22:1-14 – The 3rd Sunday of Ordinary Time – for Sunday, June 29, 2014

“After these things God tested Abraham…” (Genesis 22:1)

Caravaggio's "Abraham and Isaac."
Caravaggio’s “Abraham and Isaac.”

Isaac’s name, the son of Abraham and Sarah, meant “laughter.”

I’m glad the name didn’t translate into talkative or verbose.

Maybe Isaac was a smiling, giggling child and oft justified his name’s promise. Certainly Isaac’s name came from his mother Sarah, who’d laughed at (not with) the messengers from God when promised she’d soon become pregnant in her, er, “golden years.”

Laugh Isaac might have, but based on the Biblical witness, the kid wasn’t a talker. Between Isaac’s birth to his elderly parents and his twin sons’ births when he was 60 years of age, Isaac spoke once in Genesis’ verses. Of note, the second time this revered patriarch of the Hebrew people opened his mouth had to do with muttering a deceit. In Genesis 26:7, well after his twins Jacob and Esau were born, Isaac lied about his wife Rebekah to people he feared: “She is my sister.”

Maybe he was better off when he kept his mouth shut? Continue reading →

A Daily Genesis

tioga-pass_8994_600x450I rise early.

Usually around 4:00am.

I suppose this makes me peculiar compared to some folks. But, for me, rising early seems as natural as breathing.

There are many reasons for this pattern, the most prominent being this was the time I could most easily set aside for writing. For as long as I can remember, I have experienced the early morning moments as my creative time.

It’s a mystery to me that someone could do anything creative in the evening. When my wife worked on her Ph.D. dissertation, her most productive hours occurred after 9:00pm and continued into the wee, small hours of the morning.

How odd.

But it worked for her!

Sometimes, during that dissertation time, we would pass each other in the darkness; her finally headed for bed, me plunging into the new day.

The early time is more than just the best time for me to do my “creative” work. It has at least two gifts, and both are worthy of royalty.

Most early mornings, whether near summer’s longest day or winter solstice’s brevity, I rise in darkness. The world beyond my east-facing window is black and foreboding; the faint glow spilling outside from my office light barely affects the immensity of the unseen space beyond. I know my yard is there, with its patchy grass and orange trees and oleanders. But I can’t see them. Out my window, just past waking, I can imagine a thousand miles of open space or, if I want to amp up my anxiety, the possibility that unknown creatures slither through the night.

Out there is a kind of chaos. Unseen. Unsettling. Darkness. Continue reading →