Thursday, February 16, 2012

When the Past Haunts

Tuesday, February 16, 2012 -- Week of 6 Epiphany, Year Two
Charles Todd Quintard, Bishop of Tennessee, 1898
Today's Readings for the Daily Office (Book of Common Prayer, p. 949)
Psalms 105:1-22 (morning)        105:23-45 (evening)
Genesis 32:3-21
1 John 2:18-29
John 10:19-30

Sometimes we don't get what we deserve. 

Jacob knows what he deserves.  As he heads back home from his sojourn, living for some twenty years with his cousin Laban, Jacob knows he can't go back.  He and Laban have been deceitful with one another.  There is bad blood between them.  Some might say Jacob has swindled Laban out of much of his property.  They nearly fell into violence, but Laban relented at the last moment.  The two of them set up a stone as a border and boundary between them.  Jacob can't go back.  If he crosses that boundary, Laban would feel justified to attack him.

But Jacob's older past also haunts him as he goes forward, back toward home.  He left there under a death threat some two decades ago.  He had lied, deceived and swindled his own brother and his father back then.  Had he stayed, his brother Esau would have had his revenge on Jacob in blood. 

So now Jacob leads his family and the livestock he has taken from Laban.  Every step takes him closer to the inevitable reunion with Esau.  What will happen? 

Word comes from messengers.  "We came to your brother Esau, and he is coming to meet you, and four hundred men are with him."  That word must have felt like a death sentence to Jacob.  Now he will meet his destiny.  Now he will get what he deserves.  Esau will have his revenge.

Jacob, always scheming, divides his company into two portions -- part of the family and the livestock in each group, hoping one might escape.  Then he prays.  "Help me God!  Please!  You promised."  Then he tries to buy off Esau, to bribe his good will, sending herds as gifts, hoping to appease him.

That's where we leave the story today.  What will happen?  Will all of the lying, deceit and greed of Jacob finally come back on his head?  Will he get what he deserves?  Will his brother Esau finally get to settle the old score against the brother who betrayed and deceived him?  Stay tuned.


Audio podcast:  Listen to an audio podcast of the most recent Morning Reflections from today and the past week.  Click the following link:
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About Morning Reflections
"Morning Reflections" is a brief thought about the scripture readings from the Daily Office of Morning and Evening Prayer according to the practice found in the Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church.

Morning Prayer begins on p. 80 of the Book of Common Prayer.
Evening Prayer begins on p. 117
An online resource for praying the Daily Office is found at -- Click for online Daily Office
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The Mission of St. Paul's Episcopal Church
is to explore and celebrate
God's infinite grace, acceptance, and love.

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Our Rule of Life: 
We aspire to...
    worship weekly
    pray daily
    learn constantly
    serve joyfully 
    live generously.

Lowell Grisham, Rector
St. Paul's Episcopal Church
Fayetteville, Arkansas


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