Sunday, May 18, 2008

Signs and Wonders

Last night I heard a wonderful sermon preached about Jacob,
wrestling, in the middle of a sleepless night, with a stranger. A stranger that he later understands to be God. Janet Broderick preached this sermon during a U2charist at Grace Van Vorst in Jersey City. She reminded us that Jacob had a limp from that day forward and that we, like Jacob are to do our ministry, our daily walks in life with our brokenness available, our humanity unhidden and as a witness. A witness to God's touch in our lives, our witness to the reality that God doesn't call perfect people but broken ones, and as a witness that we are not God, but that God touches everyone.

I am one of those people that are only too aware of my own shortcomings. I have always been awkward, not graceful. I have always been messy, not presentable. And I have always been chubby and round, not skinny and fashionable. It took me years to accept who I was, and how I was made. And to find God's love for me in the midst of my own awkwardness. It took longer to accept the fact that God would call someone like me to be a priest and then a bishop. I didn't fit any standard, whether race, size or gender. And so I too have wrestled with God.

Jacob feared his brother whom he had cheated. He had a right to be afraid, he was a thief and a cheat. When Jacob met his brother, Esau was kind and forgiving and Jacob said -"for truly to see your face is like seeing the face of God -since you have received me with such favor." Jacob had gotten a new name in his long night of wrestling, but also a new understanding of God. Jacob knew that seeing the face of God was to be received with such abundant favor, not rejection. And his brother's welcome brought to his heart again the face of God - abundant welcome and favor.

May we today have grace to walk with our limps, with our true brokenness showing, knowing that God receives us with true abundant welcome and favor. Whatever we are wrestling with, whatever we are anxious about, whatever mistakes we have to face up to, whatever horrible things we have done to our family - whatever- God receives us with favor, not rejection. And if we can be assured of this than we can return the favor by sharing it with others. God's face is radiant with acceptance, forgiveness and welcome. May we have strength today, to accept that we are looked on by God as beautiful welcome children, and share that with our very needy neighbors, family and friends.

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