Thursday, July 21, 2011

Jacob and Esau

In the class I was in today, we took a look at the Jacob and Esau story from Genesis.  These are the discussion questions:
  • What are the different steps Jacob takes to find favor with Esau?  Are these steps different from ones you have taken in reestablishing estranged relationships?  Jacob makes plans for his encounter with Esau.  He sends a messenger, he prepares gifts, he protects what matters to him most because he is afraid.  I think we do all of those things when we try to reestablish relationships.
  • Who does Jacob struggle with during the night?  God?  An angel?  Esau? Himself?  With what or with whom do you struggle?  I think Jacob struggles with God, but it may be that he doesn't realize it at first.  I think I struggle the most with myself, and sometimes I realize that my struggles with myself are really struggles with God.
  • Jacob receives a wound -- a dislocated hip -- and a new identity in the struggle.  What is going on here?  Have you had a similar experience?   I think through Jacob's struggle, something about himself is transformed, symbolized by his name change.  I think that wounds in our lives can bring about transformation -- change.  The wound is painful, the growth is painful, but in the end, we are stronger, more mature, hopefully changed for the better.
  • Jacob's journey included pleas from Rebecca to flee for safety and hopes for distance and forgetting.  What do you imagine as Esau's journey that brought Esau from wanting kill his brother to running to embrace him?  I don't know, but I think this is an excellent question.
  • What does Jacob mean when he says that seeing Esau's face is like seeing the face of God  I think he looks at his brother and sees forgiveness and grace -- like seeing God.
(Questions are from the book The Journey:  Forgiveness, Restorative Justice and Reconciliation)

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