WRESTLING AT THE JABBOK
Genesis 32:22-32 (English) / 32:23-33 (Hebrew)
The Jacob Stories
Genesis 32:22-32 [32.23-33] provides a fruitful starting point for creative reflection. It has inspired artists, poets, and writers, as well as theologians.
Each one of us alone with God:
O wrestlin' Jacob, Jacob day's a-breakin',
In overcoming God you are overcome. God
enjoys a good fight as much as an Irish publican. From hearts that struggle
there is the hope of honest love. A lover does not want gratitude or compliance;
soggy affection is no more appealing than cold porridge. Nothing short
of a free and equal passion will suffice. If such love must be won from
long and painful wrestling, better that than an insipid pretence which
does not stir the gut. It is possible to keep running for a long time.
But once you join battle with the Stranger, you are at risk.
Not, I'll not, carrion comfort, Despair,
not feast on thee;
But ah, but O thou terrible, why wouldst
thou rude on me
Why? That my chaff might fly; my grain
lie, sheer and clear.
Weeping we hold him fast tonight;
I remember as blessing the one glimpse
I had of his face. It was more terrible than the face of dark, or of pain,
or of terror. It was the face of light. No words can tell of it. Silence
cannot tell of it. Sometimes I cannot believe that I saw it and lived
but that I only dreamed I saw it. Sometimes I believe I saw it and that
I only dream I live.
© Kirsten Abbott 2004