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Minister Prayers

Esau & Jacob: 12 July 2020

May I start this week with a poem?

Striding

Three boys, brothers 

by their gaze and gait;

the taller two steps 

ahead. The smaller 

messing with stuffed

pockets half runs 

to keep up.

 

Did we walk that way?

Me strutting ahead

embarrassed by your

childishness, playing

it cool, almost a man.

 

We walk together now,

measured pace.

Three men, brothers. 

Craig Muir, 2019

This poem came to mind because this Sunday we look at the brothers Esau and Jacob. Our sibling relationships can often be difficult. We know the buttons to press and have been doing it for a lifetime. The three of us have certainly had our moments, but at this time we use our differing abilities to manage the care of our parents, supporting each other and the wider family. 

We sometimes think of church as a family. We know how to discomfort one another, yet can also be incredibly supportive and encouraging. We are living in times where we need to learn new things from one another. People we have relied upon are having to rethink their availability and the rhythm of life. We are looking for new generations to emerge and help, and this is a time when different gifts and skills are required, so may we learn how to walk together, measured pace. And talking of learning, I’m told that the numbers below are too small for some, so …..

Our midweek fellowship at 7pm on Thursday will be a time of prayer using the same link as we use each Sunday.

Prayer

Your word is a lamp giving light where we walk.

Your laws are fair-minded, we give you our word.

Accept these offerings, teach us your ways

Hear our pain, lighten our load

 

Hymn

Great is thy faithfulness, O God my Father

there is no shadow of turning with thee

thou changest not, thy compassions, they fail not

as thou hast been thou for ever wilt be.

Great is thy faithfulness, great is thy faithfulness

morning by morning, new mercies I see:

all I have needed thy hand hath provided

great is thy faithfulness, Lord unto me.

Bible Genesis 25:19-34

Reflection

Abraham has exited and we turn to a new generation. But, the focus quickly moves past Isaac, and onto his sons Esau and Jacob. Like other biblical births, they arrive when God is ready as an answer to prayer and as a story of struggle. It is the struggle of siblings for attention, prominence, inheritance. It is the striving of nations to be stronger than the other, to shape their own destiny. Sets fast food against slow cooking, instant gratification against the long game. It challenges notions of entitled inheritance and asks questions about the birthright anyone is able to claim.

Competition seems to be ingrained. It can be expressed through sport, comparing houses, salaries or status. Do we naturally support the winners or the underdog? Do we admire Esau’s brute strength, the rugged outdoors type or Jacob’s quickness of mind? Are our competitive instincts wetted by SkySports or Bake Off?  Sometimes such rivalry has produced great achievements, yet in others we can see centuries of enmity. We know the benefits of worldwide co-operation, yet still the mantra is to be world-beating. 

Jacob inherits the promise made to his grandparents. But he will not acquire that promise by birthright, or by his own skill or because he is stronger, wiser, greater than anyone else. He will be a child of promise because he is chosen by God. He is not chosen for his obvious good qualities, indeed some might look at Jacob and wonder if he has any good qualities. Yet, there is a faithfulness, a precariousness about him, that will trust in God. He has some freedom to live life as he chooses, and yet freedom is bounded by choices God has made on Jacob’s behalf. Just as the choices we can make are restricted by so many factors, including the call God makes upon us. Here, at the beginning of this story we see Jacob and Esau in conflict with their birthrights.  

Prayer

Garland us with hope, 

Hold us with love

Catch us with joy

Turn us to your course 

Hymn

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,

thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;

strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,

blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside. 

Great is thy faithfulness, great is thy faithfulness

morning by morning, new mercies I see:

all I have needed thy hand hath provided

great is thy faithfulness, Lord unto me.

T G Chisolm (1866-1960)

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