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Pastor’s Column 1/1/2023

PASTOR’S COLUMN

 

“So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak… Then the man said, “Let me go for it is daybreak.” But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go until you bless me.” The man asked him, “What is your name?”  “Jacob,” he answered. Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome.”  

Genesis 32:24;26-28, NIV

                                         

New Year’s Sunday: “At Daybreak!”

 

The darkness of New Year’s Eve always precedes the “daybreak,”which ushers in a New Year. For all the festive activities, it would be good if each of us had an “alone moment” with God. Outside of worship, the culture of New Year’s celebrations has devolved into much noise and movement; devoid of self-reflection. It is amazing to see how the Scripture describes the scene for “change” and “newness,” from dimly-lit, solitary moments. Of course, this does not mean that when we reflect on the past with a view to the future, we should not celebrate. There should always be joy and excitement over the transitions we make along our journeys. But there also should be pause, in acknowledging that our journeyforward can’t be successful, unless we are blessed by God. This may be why the story of Jacob reaches a major turning point, just before he reconciles himself to his brother Esau. Up to that point, Jacob’spath was dogged by the deceitful ways in which he treated his brother Esau; and others with whom he came in contact. Perhaps this is why his name meant “heel tripper.” Jacob flexed his mental attitude to deceive others, for the sake of his own ambitions. But on a night in which he was “alone,” he wrestled as much with his past, as he did with the messenger God had sent to chasten him. The result was that Jacob prevailed in the greatest battle of his life, only because the blessing he received, changed his name. Israel, formerly Jacob, was reconciled to God. He gained a “new in lookand outlook on life. None of us can change the past, but at the dawn of a new day we can change!

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