Friday, 31 October 2008

Reformation Day from struggle to reconciliation

Throughout this week Simone Sinn who works in the Lutheran World Federation's department of theology and studies has offered powerful times of prayer and reflection at the beginning of each day - always accompanied by a religious painting.
Today we reflected on the story of the reconciliation between Esau and Jacob, which is pictured here at the centre of the Pax Christi Icon of reconciliation from Jerusalem.
But we read the whole of the passage prior to the scene of reconciliation between the two brothers in which Jacob wrestles all night with God and is only let go when wounded in his hip and blessed (Genesis 32.22 - 33). I think it was the first time I had heard either story read aloud with the other in an act of worship. I must check to see how the readings are used in various lectionaries. Suddenly I saw that wrestling with God is clearly set within the context of reconciliation. It's wonderful how you can read the Bible for years and still get fresh insights in this way.
Simone then said that the church is in many ways about offering a space for people to wrestle and struggle with God so as to find the courage for the way forwards to reconciliation.
We also read a strong statement from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zimbabwe, showing a church seeking clearly to wrestle with the issues of its own context and seek a clear path for justice and reconciliation in the future.