November 12, 2018

Another Look: A Sudden Burst of Light

Jacob Wrestling with the Angel, Chagall

So he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.”

• Genesis 32:27

• • •

If you’re lucky, there comes a moment, a moment of clarity.

At this moment, “the hopes and fears of all the years” find some resolution.

It involves an unveiling. Heavy drapes of self-denial, torn in two from top to bottom.

A  sudden burst of light, and you can see.

The game is over.

The mask is lifted.

Your hiding place discovered, there you are, naked as the day you were born.

And all it takes is a question you’ve been answering all your life. Except nobody has ever asked it like that. No one has ever looked so deeply into your eyes. The gaze sears, and all the while your wounded hip throbs.

Your life flashes before your eyes. Deceiving, grasping, lying, running, hiding — it’s all been a crooked game.

“My name is Jacob.”

There, you said it.

And you’ve been limping ever since.

And though the way is crooked as ever, never has your path been so straight.

Comments

  1. Oh, how I like this piece, CM. Especially the closing two lines, “And you’ve been limping ever since.
    And though the way is crooked as ever, never has your path been so straight.”

  2. Like this … A lot.

    Plus, I can never get enough Chagall !

    Great way to start my day.

    Thanks.

  3. Excellent! Thank you.

  4. Christiane says:

    found this from something called ‘Barnes’ notes’, a Bible commentary:

    “And he, the Mighty Stranger, said, Let me go, for the dawn ariseth. The time for other avocations is come: let me go. He does not shake off the clinging grasp of the now disabled Jacob, but only calls upon him to relax his grasp. “And he, Jacob, said, I will not let thee go except thou bless me”.

    Despairing now of his own strength, he is Jacob still: he declares his determination to cling on until his conqueror bless him. He now knows he is in the hand of a higher power, who can disable and again enable, who can curse and also bless. He knows himself also to be now utterly helpless without the healing, quickening, protecting power of his victor, and, though he die in the effort, he will not let him go without receiving this blessing.

    Jacob’s sense of his total debility and utter defeat is now the secret of his power with his friendly vanquisher. He can overthrow all the prowess of the self-reliant, but He cannot resist the earnest entreaty of the helpless.”

    and so Jacob became ‘Israel’, who had wrestled with God, and becoming disabled, held on to his Savior, clinging to Him refusing to let go until he is ‘blessed’;
    and survives,
    having learned the secret of the great kindness and mercy of Our God towards the helpless .

    so Chaplain Mike’s post celebrates this mystery:
    “And you’ve been limping ever since.
    And though the way is crooked as ever, never has your path been so straight.”

  5. Off Topic for today but relevant to another post:: “The Christian Century” has a book review article on it’s website, titled “Christian Wiman’s Stubborn, Slippery Faith”.

    • Thanks for that. Also glad to hear that Wiman is very much alive and his cancer is in remission.

  6. hurt as they may
    wounds are never
    the deepest things