A moment can change the course of our future. A graduation; an accident. A job offer or a holy encounter with God. Read Genesis 28:10-22. Bethel, meaning House of God is a place of life-change. It is this place where his grandfather, Abram, built an altar to God after an encounter with God. Bethel is a place of new beginnings and divine encounter. Have you experienced a Bethel in your journey? Perhaps at Central Union Church (once called Seamen’s Bethel!) or out in the woods?
Amazing grace is a sweet, to the soul. When we are caught up in the grace of God, new beginnings emerge as we gain a larger view of God’s work in us and in our world. In today’s reading, Jacob has a life-changing dream in which God shares the vision of his grandfather and father—that his family would become so large and such a blessing that others would be blessed through them. And the Good News is that God would be with them wherever they are!
A man on the run, seeking a new beginning, sleeping on the dirt with a rock as his pillow, his ghosts of deception playing on his mind, falls to sleep and his future is revealed. Though he may not have been the model of righteousness, God will use him in ways he never had dreamed. No longer would it be about him; rather, it would be about his descendants. His perpetual pursuit of his own good would become God’s ability to work through him and his family.
From this point in his journey, it becomes clear that he has a purpose and a mission. Will it come easily? Of course not! For no journey is marked by ease but instead an ability to live through the unease and trust the amazing grace of God! He will get deceived by his father-in-law (Gen 29) and has to flee from his brother-in-law’s. He even has his beloved son, the favorite, ripped from his life in the cruelest of ways. These stories will come to be seen in days and weeks ahead, but the point is this—just because we say ‘yes’ to God’s vision, it never means it is an easy way to live. Instead, to follow God and live into our calling is to die to what we want and to be open to what God will do!