Let us pray: May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable to you, O Lord our Rock and our Redeemer. Amen.
Esau and Jacob. It seems that the Biblical account always takes younger Jacob’s part, even if he acts sometimes less than what we today might call honorably – or less than what we today would hope for in the one in whom the Promise of God will come, hundreds of years later. In Esau and Jacob’s time, we witness in the Biblical account bickering and wheeling and dealing; but long-range we also observe brothers-turned-enemies finally reconciling in the end.
Perhaps their story is a microcosm of the entire salvation history. Not only for Israel, for whom the original journey of salvation was given in all its complexities: but as a metaphor for God’s creation forever separated from God and the solution God chooses to bestow to reclaim and recapture it: A message for all spiritual descendants by way of the One who reconciles all flesh unto Himself on the cross.
So why did it start that way? Why does it end that way? Are we forever destined to live the same cycles of birthing into inclusion, running far away in self-differentiation or rejection, then gradually allowing ourselves to be drawn back into the fold as we age? Perhaps.
When we read through this story, do we find ourselves portrayed in one character or another? Which would you rather be? Esau? Jacob? Rebekah? Or Isaac, not present, presumably working outside the tent elsewhere? One interesting interpretation I came across suggested that Esau might be held up as an example – not because he carelessly gives up his birthright, but that he holds his prerogatives lightly enough to give them up for something else.
What if we put a meal, say, the Lord’s Supper for example, in place of our own self-important prerogatives, how might we read this story differently?
For me, I imagine the story could have the power to lead me down the road away from possessive feelings of entitlement toward the humility of a wayfarer on the journey of life. Oooh, that hooks me for some reason. What if I was brave enough to give up self in favor of others: my hereditary place of gender, ethnic, racial socio-cultural economy for the needs of a greater world community? How might I go about that, and would I still remain true to my own family’s needs?
Turning to the parable Jesus tells of the sower, would he be more like who and what I would become? Not the good soil so coveted for its ability to yield a hundred, sixty, or thirty fold harvests, but the sower? I’d like to suggest in this parable, we are led to interpret the best role to adopt is that of the sower, indiscriminantly scattering seed across the entirety of creation. Why? This is one of the questions I’d like Jesus to answer for me some day, but it seems to me in scattering the seed, we have accomplished all we are meant to do and be and more as partners in the stewardship of creation; co-creators with Christ.
After all, we do not grow the crop of faithfulness in others, we plant the seeds; God nurtures them and calls forth the life that is meant to be in each. Some seeds fell on the path, true. Yet the birds were fed with them. Some seeds immediately spring up then whither with the sun – yet for a time, they bloomed in all their vigor of life – a life still given by the great Life-Giver. Those who were overcome with thorns still grew and lived for a time as well; their life given and spent; who’s to say their very existence was the prop needed for the thorns to lean upon as they first started their life? After all, thorns, too carry the gift of life for a span of time. Not only that, but even thorns must grow and pass away in their own time, for they would become the only crown our Lord wore on this earth.
Then there are the seeds producing abundant harvests. We scattered, them, true. Yet God brought forth their life – and their abundance as a gift for others – perhaps the very grain used to make the bread we share. May all glory be unto the One who lived, died, and rose again for us, even Him who is the Christ. Amen? May it be so.
 Byassee, Jason. Feasting on the Word—Year A David L. Bartlett and Barbara Brown Taylor, General Editors. Copyright © 2010 Westminster John Knox Press; Louisville, Kentucky; All rights reserved. Used by permission. Accordance edition hyper-texted and formatted by OakTree Software, Inc. Version 2.0
Questions for Reflection
How is God’s resurrecting Spirit at work in you and in your community? Where are you experiencing new life? Where are you struggling? How might God be bringing new life from that struggle?
Household Prayer: Morning
Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. Living Word, shine on this day. Quicken my steps and open my ears that I might approach each neighbor with an expectant heart.
Household Prayer: Evening
Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light to my path. Beacon of truth, I entrust to you now the day that has been: the tasks accomplished and tasks overlooked; the friends acknowledged and the friends ignored; the silence kept and the silence squandered.
In your mercy, mend these tattered offerings. Grant me the gift of rest this night and good companions on the morrow, as you speak me further down the path toward home.