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Treasures from the Springs in Glass Bottles or maybe even Clay pots?...

Our 12 Springs Community witnessed this past Sunday an outbreak of Community. Rather than responding to Scripture and the week's events with one person up front to a room of spectators we were blessed with a panel of responders to God's Words to us about the life of a self-promoter whose name meant one that grabs at the heel, someone hoping to take over from behind. This discussion was about Jacob/Israel but also was about an encounter with God and Life and Grief and how we are called in the midst of loss to respond. Responders Anthony Gullo, Chad Farrand, Ryan and Elizabeth McBride, and Parker Thurman, spoke to the challenge of wrestling with the Almighty. In the context of the Jewish form of religious discussion we call a Midrash., it is an honored form of conveying through a communal context, a larger truth or truths. Amazing how different voices can produce unexpected but often a united and uniting truth. I found that true this past Sunday. This writer heard God's Spirit speaking to the human heart. I heard about Experiencing human loneliness but also the possibility of the Presence of God making Himself known in Tangible means-pressing the flesh in a wrestling context. How we may cry out in our times of distress and dark nights of the soul and gain our Maker's attention! God comes to us for our needs and also to move us beyond our self protecting egos. Demanding Closure but something that would go with him Jacob finds blessing in a new identity as well as a lasting limitation-a reminder of our space/time limitations. Also we are reminded of the new identity given-Israel and we see a similarity in Revelations 2:17 of the promise of a New Name written on a white stone in the New Jerusalem in the future under the New Covenant-a promise to all who follow Jesus through the end of Time and Space to our final forever family. All well and good for the Patriarch, but our panel also spoke to the real times of struggle and suffering we wrestle with and even Jesus Followers are left seemingly alone with old luggage we thought was long left behind but which comes gushing out in times of dark despair. Our panel spoke of real . It's a common theme in Christian Preaching, that being human can be challenging! Especially when we run up against our limits. Stuck (JRR Tolkien insists in one of his fictions that fatality is a gift of God to the race of humanity.) in Time and Space means we can run out of both. Chad talked about his struggle with the pain born of Muscular Dystrophy and how he has come to view this a certain way as a part of his life. Jacob, also spent the remainder of life with a limp and we see him at the end of his life leaning on a staff but Blessing others. Elizabeth shared how God who most might see as outside our struggle came into our life and shared with our suffering bearing it with us. So what's in a name can reflect not just our human history but also our destiny and reflect our history here on this planet shared with God's Spirit-Anthony pointed out that we look forward to a time of redefinition-The new name to be given just as Jacob the cheater became a Prince with Power with God. All these reflections on God sharing our human suffering culminated in an invitation from Ryan to respond and an actual response with a meaningful and heart-felt (felt by all present-I think) response to loss by our own Tim Kelly. In this way God's spoken words become flesh for us as God's Spirit works in our community.

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