search.noResults

search.searching

note.createNoteMessage

search.noResults

search.searching

orderForm.title

orderForm.productCode
orderForm.description
orderForm.quantity
orderForm.itemPrice
orderForm.price
orderForm.totalPrice
orderForm.deliveryDetails.billingAddress
orderForm.deliveryDetails.deliveryAddress
orderForm.noItems
Grounded in grace Loved and limping By Frank G. Honeycutt


I recall read- ing somewhere that summer reunions are the bread and butter for many work- ing therapists. Much of the pain we inflict


upon each other occurs within the human family. In more than 30 years as a parish pastor, the majority of families I encountered included members who’d stopped speaking to one another. Reconciliation is an important


biblical word, but it’s yet to be realized in many painful instances, several of which I suspect now swim into your imagination while reading these words. •••


Genesis 32 describes the


backdrop to one of the all-time great reconciliation stories in the Bible. If you’re approaching a family reunion this summer with a bit of fear and trepidation, prowl around in this chapter for courage and even comic relief. Jacob could easily land a


starring role in a Lunesta ad. Things didn’t end well with Esau the last time they were together. Jacob stole a birthright and blessing with the deceitful help of his mother, who never hid her partiality. (A dysfunctional family before we knew that word.) Livid Esau vows revenge. Twenty years pass. Jacob learns


that Esau is galloping toward him with 400 men. He fearfully offers an honest foxhole prayer: “Deliver me, please, from the hand of my brother ... for I’m


afraid of him; he may come and kill us all” (32:11). The estrangement may be


dated with decades, but it’s also as fresh as yesterday. Jacob sends a peace offering to Esau (32:14- 15). Unable to sleep, he fearfully awakens his family of 15, sends the groggy entourage safely across the river and returns alone to the original campsite—at least for a while. Delightful ambiguity exists


concerning the identity of Jacob’s wrestling partner that night, with a divided tradition—some say an angel (or God) and others claim that even Esau jumped into the fray. Perhaps a combination of all three, tag-teaming. Isn’t this how a division awaiting reconciliation often feels? Our anxieties on earth can never be fully separated and hidden away from God in heaven. “You have striven with God and with humans, [Jacob]” (32:28). An accurate assessment; always both.


••• For authentic reconciliation


to occur, we must go through our past, however painful, rather than pretend it never happened. Please recall that Jesus shows his scars to the community, even after his resurrection. This is often why people come


to church in the first place: to seek absolution and insight from past events, some still keeping us awake at night. Collectively, any congregation hauls in a lot of emotional baggage each Sunday—during the confession and again at the altar for communion. We proclaim gospel truths aloud, but the


silences also reveal our common past estrangement, awaiting reconciliation. The whole enterprise of


church (if authentic) will therefore at times feel more like a wrestling match than a sweet walk in the park. Sometimes a real encounter with God can leave us blessed and certainly loved, but also limping.


••• Jacob couldn’t sleep. After


relocating his family at a safe distance, he found a place beside the river to lie down and rest. Or so he thought. A river runs through our


worship spaces. The grace of God overflows the baptismal font, dampens the pews, and meanders purposefully out into your town and the homes of your community. It’s a good place to rest a weary, anxious head— beside this old river. But the whole baptismal


enterprise may not be entirely safe. God may very well jump us in the night beside these waters and wrestle us all to the ground. Don’t be afraid of wrestling


with your past. It’s the key to a good night’s sleep and maybe an eventual reunion featuring reconciliation. Sometimes life leaves us


limping. And the best we can do is limp into church and up to the table of grace, never letting go until blessed.


Frank G. Honeycutt is a writer and recently retired ELCA pastor living in Walhalla, S.C. His book 95 Prostheses: Appendages and Musings for the Body of Christ in Transition, will be released this year by Cascade Books.


VOICES OF FAITH • LIVINGLUTHERAN.0RG 5


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52