Tag Archives: 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Wrestling With God

Rembrandt – Jacob Wrestling With the Angel

Jacob Wrestles at Peniel

22 That same night Jacob got up, took his two wives, his two concubines, and his eleven children, and crossed the Jabbok River. 23 After he had sent them across, he also sent across all that he owned, 24 but he stayed behind, alone.

Then a man came and wrestled with him until just before daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he was not winning the struggle, he hit Jacob on the hip, and it was thrown out of joint. 26 The man said, “Let me go; daylight is coming.”

“I won’t, unless you bless me,” Jacob answered.

27 “What is your name?” the man asked.

“Jacob,” he answered.

28 The man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob. You have struggled with God and with men, and you have won; so your name will be Israel.”

29 Jacob said, “Now tell me your name.”

But he answered, “Why do you want to know my name?” Then he blessed Jacob.

30 Jacob said, “I have seen God face-to-face, and I am still alive”; so he named the place Peniel. 31 The sun rose as Jacob was leaving Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip.

Genesis 32:22-31

Wrestling,
still grappling,
trying to gain the upper hand.

Searching,
seeking,
longing,
to be.

Still yearning
for that blessing,
not the stolen one,
but God’s blessing
on me
and my life.

And now you come,
I am marked,
forever,
by our struggle;
from now on
I am changed.

You call me by a new name,
a new purpose
a new me.

I have met God,
we have struggled,
I am renewed
and I am alive.

Struggling,
I wrestle with you Lord.

I search
and I seek,
I long for you to touch me,
to change me
to make me new,
in you.

Bless me Lord
I pray.
Bless each one of us.
Meet us in our struggle,
touch us,
renew us
and may we know we are alive in you.

This is such a beautiful hymn. It means so much to me of being able to trace God’s rainbow through the rain and the God whose love never lets us go, whatever the struggle. And this is a beautiful rendition of it:

For another take of mine on this passage, see Scarred for Life

Bread for Life

We want to see magic,
something special,
out of the ordinary,
we need to know
for sure.

We want our needs meeting,
in the way we want.
we like full stomachs,
especially if we don’t have to work hard.

But really
we are seeking,
searching
for something else,
something beyond,
something more.

We need to trust,
we need something
we can put our hope in,
something that will sustain us
– all of our being,
we want life
in all it’s fulness.

Jesus said
“come to me,
come with me,
I have what you need.
Not just for today,
until you get hungry again,
but for always.

Come to me
and you will have food for life.
You need never
hunger and thirst
for eternal,
truly life-enhancing things
again.”

Lord,
I come
to share in all you have to give me.
Not what disappears,
or will leave me
hungering and thirsting
for more.

May I not seek
just the spectacular,
but what you do every day,
in my life.

May I look
for those things
of lasting value,
your value;
not just material gifts
but spiritual ones too.

Lord I come to you,
feed me I pray,
nourish and strengthen me
in the life
you call me to.

John 6:24-35 (CEV)

24 They saw that Jesus and his disciples had left. Then they got into the boats and went to Capernaum to look for Jesus. 25 They found him on the west side of the lake and asked, “Rabbi, when did you get here?”

26 Jesus answered, “I tell you for certain that you are not looking for me because you saw the miracles, but because you ate all the food you wanted.27 Don’t work for food that spoils. Work for food that gives eternal life. The Son of Man will give you this food, because God the Father has given him the right to do so.”

28 “What exactly does God want us to do?” the people asked.

29 Jesus answered, “God wants you to have faith in the one he sent.”

30 They replied, “What miracle will you work, so that we can have faith in you? What will you do? 31 For example, when our ancestors were in the desert, they were given manna to eat. It happened just as the Scriptures say, ‘God gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”

32 Jesus then told them, “I tell you for certain that Moses wasn’t the one who gave you bread from heaven. My Father is the one who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 And the bread that God gives is the one who came down from heaven to give life to the world.”

34 The people said, “Lord, give us this bread and don’t ever stop!”

35 Jesus replied:

I am the bread that gives life! No one who comes to me will ever be hungry. No one who has faith in me will ever be thirsty.

The Way to Live

This is such excellent advice, for church and for life.  A real model of how we can, and should, live.  It seems impossible to read this passage and not come in confession for how far from it I am.

By Shepherd Gallery via Wikimedia Commons

Ephesians 4:1-16 (CEV)

Unity with Christ

As a prisoner of the Lord, I beg you to live in a way that is worthy of the people God has chosen to be his own. Always be humble and gentle. Patiently put up with each other and love each other. Try your best to let God’s Spirit keep your hearts united. Do this by living at peace. All of you are part of the same body. There is only one Spirit of God, just as you were given one hope when you were chosen to be God’s people. We have only one Lord, one faith, and one baptism. There is one God who is the Father of all people. Not only is God above all others, but he works by using all of us, and he lives in all of us.

Christ has generously divided out his gifts to us. As the Scriptures say,

“When he went up
    to the highest place,
he led away many prisoners
    and gave gifts to people.”

When it says, “he went up,” it means that Christ had been deep in the earth.10 This also means that the one who went deep into the earth is the same one who went into the highest heaven, so that he would fill the whole universe.

11 Christ chose some of us to be apostles, prophets, missionaries, pastors, and teachers, 12 so that his people would learn to serve and his body would grow strong. 13 This will continue until we are united by our faith and by our understanding of the Son of God. Then we will be mature, just as Christ is, and we will be completely like him.

14 We must stop acting like children. We must not let deceitful people trick us by their false teachings, which are like winds that toss us around from place to place. 15 Love should always make us tell the truth. Then we will grow in every way and be more like Christ, the head 16 of the body. Christ holds it together and makes all of its parts work perfectly, as it grows and becomes strong because of love.

Lord,
I am so far
from what you call me to be,
so far
from what you ask of me,
so far from your ideal.

I am not humble
and gentle,
I can be rough
in thought and word,
and think first of myself.

I’m not very patient
or good at putting up with things,
I make demands
of you,
of others,
of myself,
wholly unreasonably
and inappropriately.

My ways
do not always show love,
I bury it well,
or forget it all together
and work from less fine motives.

I don’t live in peace.
I cause strife
and discomfort,
disabling others
from finding peace
because I don’t have it.

I forget
that we are all one body,
that we need each other
to work well;
I am not a one person band,
but need others for my wholeness,
who also need me
for theirs.

I forget that you are my hope,
I try to fix things myself,
be my own saviour
and bypass you.

I overlook the gifts of others,
what you have called them to be,
the ways we can all work together.
That though we all work differently,
we all work for you.

Oh,
but I am so good
at acting like a child…

I am so sorry
for all have got wrong.

May I not be blown about
in the breeze,
may I cling to you
and your ways,
hold to your truth,
together,
always together
in you.

Let love hold us,
grow us,
teach us
in you.

This song links this to tomorrows post on John 6:24-35