Jacob dreamed

On Sunday, July 17th we read from the book of Genesis:

10    Jacob left Beer-sheba and went toward Haran.

11    He came to a certain place and stayed there for the night, because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place.

12    And he dreamed that there was a ladder set up on the earth, the top of it reaching to heaven; and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.

13    And the Lord stood beside him and said, “I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring;

14    and your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and all the families of the earth shall be blessed in you and in your offspring.

15    Know that I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”

16    Then Jacob woke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place—and I did not know it!”

17    And he was afraid, and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.”

18    So Jacob rose early in the morning, and he took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up for a pillar and poured oil on the top of it.

19    He called that place Bethel. —Genesis 28:10-19a

How is this (Genesis 28) our story?

Consider these questions about Jacob’s dream.

  • Do you believe this story?
  • Do you think that God has ever spoken to “mere mortals” in dreams?
  • Do you think that God, to this day, uses dreams as one way to communicate with us?
  • Do you know anyone who has dreamed and in that dream has heard God? If yes, do you believe what you have heard from this person? What clue(s) did the person use to know it was of God?
  • Have you ever “heard” God in a dream? How did you know it was God?
  • When was the last time God spoke to you in a dream?

These are a few of the questions that occur to me as I hear Jacob’s story. In the Sunday Morning Forum we shared our answers to some of these questions. We invite you to share your answers here as we continue to live in the light of this reading from Genesis. –djr

For further consideration and reflection

Consider that Jacob encountered God (v. 13), “a very personal Being.” within his dream, and was transformed. Dreams are mysterious in their power because of the One who meets us there at just the right time. —djr

Nearly midway into life I had come into a dark woods, into a blind alley. I found my way out of that stalemate through an understanding of dreams. I worked with a Jungian analyst, a Jew who had escaped from a Nazi concentration camp. He believed that the Holy One still spoke to both sleeping and waking human beings in dreams in the silence of the day and in the night. With his help I discovered that my dreams were wiser than my well-tuned rational mind and that they gave me warnings when I was in danger. They also described in symbols the disastrous situations in which I found myself. These strange messengers of the night also offered suggestions on how to find my way out of my lostness. When I followed these symbolic suggestions, much of the darkness lifted, and my situation no longer seemed hopeless. Many of my psychological and physical symptoms of distress disappeared.

In addition to all this, I found a very personal Being at the heart of reality who cared for me; my theological dry bones were covered with sinew and flesh. And then, as I continued to listen to my dreams, I experienced the risen Christ in a way that I had not thought possible. And last of all, I realized that the Holy One continued to knock on the doorway of my inner being in my dreams even when I paid no attention to them, and he would also be waiting for me when I deliberately opened the door of my soul to the risen Christ. Prayer, contemplation, and meditation, then, became real and necessary aspects of my life as I journeyed toward fulfillment and wholeness.

Morton T. Kelsey, God, dreams, and revelation,
Kindle edition, Preface (search: stalemate)

Abba

“You have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God.” Romans 8:15-16

A prayer for the week

Abba, Father,
in darkness and in light,
in trouble and in joy,
help us to trust your love,
to serve your purpose,
and to praise your name,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Copied. Source not known.

 

Poem for Romans 8:24-25

For in hope, we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen?
But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
Romans 8:24-25

Image source: http://www.poets.org

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

 

 

A Proper 12 Art for Readings July 24, 2011


 MICHELANGELO Buonarroti
(b. 1475, Caprese, d. 1564, Roma)
Click to open Web Gallery of Art Artist Biography and to explore other works by this artist.

Rachel and Leah
1545
Marble
San Pietro in Vincoli, Rome
Click to open Web Gallery of Art display page.
 Click on their image to enlarge/fit page etc.

Art for Feast of Mary of Magdala July 22, 2011


 ANGELICO, Fra
(b. ca. 1400, Vicchio nell Mugello, d. 1455, Roma)
Click to open Web Gallery of Art Artist Biography and to explore other works by this artist.

Noli Me Tangere (Cell 1)
1440-42
Fresco, 166 x 125 cm
Convento di San Marco, Florence
Click to open Web Gallery of Art display page.
 Click on their image to enlarge/fit page etc.

Church of Sudan offers Anglicans digital record of historic day

Check in on this. Perhaps on Sunday we’ll order one or more CDs for our library. –Dan

Anglicans around the world are being offered a slice of history in the form of a new CD of around 450 photos and films recording the independence weekend in South Sudan.

International Co-ordinator for the Episcopal Church of Sudan Rebecca Coleman is hoping that people right around the Anglican Communion will want to own a CD filled with sights and sounds from the day a country was born. Not least because proceeds from the sale of these historical discs will help upgrade the communications systems in the Provincial Office.

“I have produced CDs of the photos and videos I took over the independence weekend in South Sudan,” she said. “There are 450 photos and films in total, all fantastic quality, and featuring scenes from the day such as the arrival of President Bashir, the lowering and raising of the flags, the national anthem sung by the enormous crowd, and close-ups, some humourous, of the delegates who attended.

“Bonus features include Independence Eve on Juba’s streets, the sound track of the national anthem and thanksgiving prayers in All Saints Cathedral.”

“The CD costs just 50SDG, 15USD or 15GBP,” said Rebecca, “and all proceeds go towards an urgent upgrade of the communications systems in the Episcopal Church of Sudan offices.

You can get a CD from the ECS Provincial Office, but they are also available in Juba, the USA and the UK. Contact Rebecca at international@sudan.anglican.org for more details.

via Anglican Communion News Service: Church of Sudan offers Anglicans digital record of historic day.

About flesh and body

As we continue to read in Paul’s Letter to the Romans we find a passage filled with words that made sense to the first audience without a lot of explanation, but which need some interpretation in 2011. Here is an excerpt opening the English words “flesh” and “body” as used by Paul in Greek in this letter and in his theology. Walter F. Taylor, Jr. is the Ernest W. and Edith F. Ogram Professor of New Testament Studies at Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, OH.

Our text [Romans 8:1-11] uses several times the word flesh, making what seem to be almost nonsensical statements such as “Those who are in the flesh cannot please God” (verse 8).  If that is the reality, why even try to live in God-pleasing ways?  The key is what Paul means by flesh (sarks).  To understand his usage, we turn first to its apparent twin, body (soma).  For Paul the body is neither good nor bad in and of itself.  The issue is how the body is used.  When the body is used as God intended, the body is good.  But when the body is used inappropriately and opposed to God’s intention, it is for Paul a sinful body.  Paul’s shorthand expression for a body that is misused is the term flesh.  And so to live inappropriately is called living according to the flesh (kata sarka).  Read more about Paul’s theology. (Select “2nd Reading” tab)

What helps you to live fully for God? How has your living for God changed over the years? What kinds of “grown up” things do you do as you seek to know and do God’s will?

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