“What Are You…” explores finishing that sentence. Through this series I’ll be finishing those sentences with …singing…listening to…and reading, getting to share some of my favorite hymns, songs, music, bible stories, and authors.
What are you reading for inspiration? The Bible!
It’s sort of my job. And I’ll be honest, there have been moments in my life where I wasn’t super excited about the bible. Truthfully the violence, misogyny, terror, and heartbreak can be a lot for me, especially if we begin venturing away from our lectionary calendar.
Since beginning seminary, there are times in my life where scripture does seem like a job. (Partly because interpreting scripture and sharing the Gospel each Sunday is in fact part of my job.) But I’ve also been incredibly grateful for books, classes, and siblings in Christ who have helped the Word come alive for me again. We believe our scriptures are the living Word of God, sometimes we feel that, and other times we don’t.
Over the last few years, as I have found myself diving deeper into that breath of good news, heartache, and life that fills the pages of our bible, there have been a few favorites that have brought me inspiration and hope. Honestly once I started listing them, there were more than could fit in a single blog post. Once I started writing a bit about each of these stories, I realized that each one really needed its own post!
Jacob & the Big Wrestle (Genesis 32:22-30)
I first discovered the story of Jacob wrestling with the man/angel/God in more detail while I was in seminary. As we read through the Pentateuch, Jacob and his persistence stood out to me most.
When I first arrived at seminary, I was always embarrassed by what I felt was a lack of bible literacy. So many of my classmates had been studying the bible for so much longer than I had, I felt like a phony. I had spent the great part of my adult life outside of church and faith, when I returned it felt like there was only so much I could do on my own.
Wrestling with faith, scripture, and relationship
But in some ways, coming into seminary with my unsure grasp of scripture was a huge gift. I hadn’t developed those hard and stubborn ideas about certain bible stories that some of my classmates had. I found that I was a bit more flexible, a bit more able to hear all of the different interpretations, and I was hungry for it.
Jacob became my inspiration for wrestling with my faith, with scripture, with God. His persistent hunger for a blessing echoed my persistent hunger for God’s presence in my life. And on days when the hip of my mind aches from overwork, Jacob reminds me that this relationship, this faith, is worth the wrestle.
Next week: Belonging, grace, and hope in my next favorite story from the bible!