This Sunday coming I have the opportunity to preach in our church on that mysterious and scary encounter in Genesis between Jacob and the angel of the Lord, or was it God? It's one of those incidents that makes no sense by itself. It has to be fitted into the story of a dysfunctional family where jealousy, cheating, deceit, possessive love, emotional manipulation, violence and just about every other act and attitude corrosive of good relationships between relations, has wrecked any basis for trust.
The sermon will be part of a series about struggles, one of those inoccuous words that hides a multitude of uncertainties and unpredictable tight corners on the journey we make towards God. Whatever this story means, it isn't a story of bland reassurance or blind faith. God is moved by neither.
So. We'll see! My mother used to say that as a way of not disappointing us with a straight 'No!' I have a feeling this story isn't about how to live the voctorious life, but, we'll see!
The painting by Gaugin, "Vision of the Sermon" is one of my favourite expressions of biblical art. A large print hangs above my desk, a daily reminder of the struggle and cost of living faithfully, and of the God who engages with our humanity with stern demanding compassion, severe gentle mercy and fierce creative love, bearing with our contradictions and urging us towards every new day.