Scripture: Genesis 32:22-31 (CEB)
Jacob got up during the night, took his two wives, his two women servants, and his eleven sons, and crossed the Jabbok River’s shallow water. He took them and everything that belonged to him, and he helped them cross the river. But Jacob stayed apart by himself, and a man wrestled with him until dawn broke. When the man saw that he couldn’t defeat Jacob, he grabbed Jacob’s thigh and tore a muscle in Jacob’s thigh as he wrestled with him. The man said, “Let me go because the dawn is breaking.”
But Jacob said, “I won’t let you go until you bless me.”
He said to Jacob, “What’s your name?” and he said, “Jacob.” Then he said, “Your name won’t be Jacob any longer, but Israel, because you struggled with God and with men and won.”
Jacob also asked and said, “Tell me your name.”
But he said, “Why do you ask for my name?” and he blessed Jacob there. Jacob named the place Peniel, “because I’ve seen God face-to-face, and my life has been saved.” The sun rose as Jacob passed Penuel, limping because of his thigh.
I don't know about you, but I feel like I've been wrestling all week! After the tragic events at Pulse Night Club in Orlando, I wrestle with how to respond. Media would like us to respond in a certain way and politicians would like us to respond in another way, and I'm confident that God would have us respond in still yet another way.
We meet Jacob when he is about to reunite with his brother Esau, in which he is nervous about this meeting because of their history. But God has told Jacob he is to go back to his homeland and he cannot do that without meeting up with his brother, from whom he stole the familial blessing. What does God want him to do? What does society tell him will happen? I wonder what his family is saying?
As Jacob wrestles with a difficult situation, he wrestles with both God and humanity, and as the text reminds us, he prevails and "comes out on top." But Jacob doesn't just "come out on top" receiving a medal or a prize. Jacob wins because he receives a Divine blessing, a blessing in which he will be able to bless others with his blessings from God.
When we as a faith community continue to "wrestle" with what it means to "see through God's eyes" and what it means for us to live into God's vision for us we can wrestle with confidence. As we wrestle with how to respond, how to live as God's love in this world, we can do so knowing that God will bless us in our wrestling so that we can continue to bless our community and world around us.
We hope you will join us on Sunday morning at 8:30am or 10:30am to explore this further!