(Continuing to present both Tracks of the Lectionary)
The Genesis lesson (Track 1) is a classic—Jacob wrestling with the angel. In general we look at Old Testament stories as lessons to be learned. So when you think about Jacob wrestling with the angel, what lesson do you believe is being taught? There are, oh, so many lessons. Here’s a few: patience (“wait for it!”), endurance (through pain and suffering), acceptance (all lessons have a price), you can be belligerent with God (how else can you fight), and God provides (blesses you). Did you think of those? What other lessons do you see in the Genesis scripture? Post your thoughts on our website.
The same night . . . Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he struck him on the hip socket; and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. Then he said, “Let me go, for the day is breaking.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go, unless you bless me.” So he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” Then the man said, “You shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with humans, and have prevailed.” Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And there he blessed him. So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life is preserved.” The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping because of his hip.
From sermon4kids.com: “. . . with God’s power, we can do greater things. We can stop doing things our way. We can surrender to God’s will and trust that He knows best.”
Scripture: August 2, 2020—Genesis 32:22-31; Psalm 17:1-7,16; Romans 9:1-5; and Matthew 14:13-21. Illuminating the scripture, an image and audio journey. Track 2 lesson and psalm are Isaiah 55:1-5 and Psalm 145: 8-9, 15-22.
Collect: Let your continual mercy, O Lord, cleanse and defend your Church; and, because it cannot continue in safety without your help, protect and govern it always by your goodness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Reflection: “Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak” (Gen. 32:24). Why do you think God allows times of struggle in our lives? How have times of struggle affected your walk with God? How does your relationship with God affect your view of overwhelming problems in the world, such as hunger, poverty, violence, or injustice?
Saint Focus: Let’s look at William Edward Burghardt (W.E.B.) Du Bois (pronounced “du-BOYS”). Notably many labels are given to Du Bois including the first African-American to graduate from Harvard. He helped establish the NAACP and is a respected early leader of free-thinkers in the United States. He objected to religion in the schools (at odds with his contemporary Booker T. Washington). He wanted all of African descent to recognize and adopt their joint heritage. While he was traveling in Ghana in 1963, the United States refused to renew his passport so he accepted citizenship in Ghana, where he died 2 years later. Be sure to follow this link or the link below for more details. Note also the recognition of the first ordination of women to the priesthood. [most from the Calendar of the church year according to the Episcopal Church.]
This week, the saints under consideration were:
- 30; William Wilberforce, Social Reformer, 1833, and Anthony Ashley-Cooper, Lord Shaftesbury, 1885, Prophetic Witness
- 31; Ignatius of Loyola, Priest and Spiritual Writer, 1556
- 8/1; Joseph of Arimathaea
- 2; Samuel Ferguson, Bishop for West Africa, 1916
- 3; [Joanna, Mary & Salome], Myrrh-bearing women; AND George Freeman Bragg, Jr., Priest, 1940 AND William Edward Burghardt Du Bois, Sociologist, 1963
- 5; Albrecht Dürer, 1528, Matthias Grünewald, 1529, and Lucas Cranach the Elder, 1553, Artists
Eye Candy: “The vision after the sermon” (1888), by Paul Gauguin; “Loaves and fishes” (1971), stained glass by Helen Maloney (Ireland); “Artoklasia” or breaking of bread service (to commemorate breaking of loaves and fishes) in Roman Catholic church in Canada
Ear Worm: “Come, O Thou Traveler Unknown” is a marvelous and haunting hymn. Its verses are written by the prolific poet Charles Wesley (original poem here) and, of course, shortened to fewer verses for the hymn (in The Hymnal 1982). Charles Wesley lived in the 18th Century. Two centuries later, a composer Erik Routley came along and created a mysterious and powerful interpretation of Wesley’s poem. It too is in The Hymnal 1982. Listen to Routley’s anthem version here. Two verses to meditate on:
1. Come, O thou Traveller unknown, / Whom still I hold, but cannot see!
My company before is gone, / And I am left alone with Thee;
With Thee all night I mean to stay, / And wrestle till the break of day.
9. ‘Tis Love! ’tis Love! Thou diedst for me! / I hear Thy whisper in my heart;
The morning breaks, the shadows flee, / Pure, universal love Thou art;
To me, to all, Thy mercies move; Thy nature and Thy Name is Love.
Contemporary Parables: “The Sting” (1973), “all his life Jacob has schemed”; “The life of Yogananda” (2014), story of Yogi; “Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet” (2014), animated, eight profound and prophetic wisdom teachings
image “Wrestling” by David Ascalon, downloaded on 072920 from “Wrestling at the Jabbok“
Here’s a brief look at the Jacob-wrestling story from Elie Wiesel: “Both were wounded: . . . Jacob accepted his aggressor’s departure willingly; the latter, as if to thank him, made him a gift: a new name which for generations to come would symbolize eternal struggle and endurance, . . . At dawn Jacob was a different man. Whatever he touched caught fire. His words acquired a new resonance; he now expressed himself as a visionary, a poet.” How might you be different if you wrestled with an angel? How would you know?
If you wish, share your thoughts on our website.
Throughout the Bible, God uses food as a primary means of calling the people together and of revealing the divine Presence to them. Today we have Matthew’s account of the feeding of the 5,000. For early Christians, this account’s importance lay not so much in the miraculous multiplying of the loaves and fishes as in its resemblance to the Eucharist, their own way (and ours) of experiencing Jesus’ continuing presence in their midst.
Track 1. Today we reach the most important moment in the story of Jacob. This scoundrel has long resisted God but now as he returns to his homeland, God and he wrestle through the night. Finally, God blesses him and gives him a new name, Israel, “he who strives with God.” Jacob is converted and becomes the holy father of God’s People.
Track 2. In the first reading, the prophet Isaiah brings a vision of God’s renewed relationship with the people. The vision used the Old Testament’s frequent image of that relationship as God calls all people to eat and drink in fellowship with God and each other.
Having reached the conclusion of his discussion of the glory of God’s grace, Paul now tries to deal with the fact that some Jews have not accepted Jesus as the Messiah. Nevertheless, God’s promises to them remain.
Religious meals are one of the universal expressions of human religion. All the insights of God’s long love affair with humanity are summed up in these meals. Given deeper and fuller meaning by the Passover of Israel and finally used by Jesus to interpret the meaning of his death and resurrection, the Eucharist becomes for us the fullest and most complete revelation of God’s love and of His salvation.
From The Rite Light: Reflections on the Sunday Readings and Seasons of the Church Year. Copyright © 2007 by Michael W. Merriman. Church Publishing Incorporated, New York.