Sunday, July 31, 2011

Angels in the Night

Some weeks it's hard to know which of the passages from the lectionary to choose as a preaching focus. This week we have two all-star stories. Jacob wrestles with an angel one night and while he walks with a limp after his encounter, he knows he has been blessed and seen God face to face. I had to smile when I read this one because I was struggling with a sore back, the result of a vacuuming injury -- tip: don't lean over your shoulder to pick up the vacuum when you are doing the stairs. I was literally walking with a limp and no angels were involved!The painting above is by Paul Gaugin, a contemporary and sometime friend of Van Gogh.

Then there is the story of the feeding of the crowd which we read in Matthew but makes it into all four of the gospels. I decided that with the famine in East Africa so prominently before us I would stick with the gospel, but the Jacob story is powerful.

We see the Jack Layton's of the world and other less prominent souls who live with courage despite their literal and figurative limps. It seems to me that there is always the temptation to ask "why me?," to become bitter, or to be defeated by circumstances. While the gospel reading is the obvious miracle story, the little miracles are evident in those who find God's blessing in the tough moments. Maybe these are the angels around us.

Have you experienced times in your life when we felt that you were walking with a limp, so to speak? What got you through the tough times? Do you feel blessed by God despite the difficulties you have experienced?


johnny said...

One way I deal with difficulties - and it's how many of us do - is to realize what is going RIGHT in our lives, and try to put more focus on that.

Try to fix those things that you have control over, and accept those you don't.

I just read a book by Richard Carlson called "What About The Big Stuff?". He had lots of good suggestions and ideas about dealing with the big bumps in life.

lionlamb said...

I often return to Philippians 4 where the apostle Paul says:

Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

You and Paul are on the same page johnny!