Angel wrestling, Genesis 32:22-32, Pentecost 9A — Steve Garnaas-Holmes, USA

Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak…
Then he said, ‘Let me go, for the day is breaking.’
But Jacob said, ‘I will not let you go, unless you bless me.’
—Genesis 32.24, 26

 

The angels you’ll have to wrestle with most often
are no strangers:
they’re your anger, fear, control, defensiveness,
your despair, blame, insecurity, avoidance.
You won’t get away without a fight.

They may also be God’s forgiveness,
the Beloved’s absolute acceptance,
God’s serenity in the face of your betrayal,
God’s accompaniment in your troubles.
You won’t accept them without a fight.

You’re not wrestling with what’s happening;
you’re wrestling with your feelings about it:
not the problem but its difficulty,
not the suffering but how you take it personally.
The angels are not your world, but your self.

So wrestle. Grab them firmly.
Feel their breath on your neck,
their body against yours,
the weight of their intent.
Let your sweat mingle.

Learn their moves.
They’re your sparring partner,
not out to destroy you
but to shove you into the face of God.

Who knew divine intimacy
could be so hard?

 

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