Jabbok’s Edge is a blog about faith, the church, and leadership. In it I write from my perspective as a Lutheran Pastor (ELCA) and curious leader. I am convinced that God calls the church to be strong partners in God’s work in the world.
The title for this blog draws on an image from the stories of Jacob. In Genesis 32, Jacob is heading home, after fleeing into exile because of his own thievery. He learns that his brother, Esau, from whom he stole, is coming toward him and he is frightened. He sends his family across the Jabbok river and waits alone in the darkness contemplating his future. That night he wrestles with God and demands a blessing from him as day breaks. His blessing renames him and he leaves that encounter changed: walking with a limp he crosses the river to meet his brother to do the work of reconciliation.
The church is wrestling. It is trying to figure out what it means to be God’s blessed community active in the world. Dare we be renamed and remade? We stand at the edge of the river, knowing that we are called ahead, yet often held by the past in such a way that we aren’t sure whether we can cross over into the new life that we are called to enter. Change is hard. Yet, God calls us to enter into the world as a reconciling presence, to live with our brothers and sisters and to bring new life. We do this as a community of faith, shaped by the cross: Jesus’s reconciling work is the heart of who we are created to be. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, we are given strength to cross into the world, changed, limping, ready to be a community where reconciliation happens – between us and God and between us and our neighbors.