Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Dinner Church

We had our first Dinner Church experience on Sunday night. Our text was Genesis 32:22-32, Jacob wrestling with the LORD and walking away blessed and wounded. It ends with the tradition of not eating meat around that portion of the hip which corresponds to the location of Jacob's injury, his pain. As I reflected, in our group reflection process, on what God was saying to me . . . I heard the need to look at pain in my past with fresh eyes, to look for the presence of God where I may not expect to find it, and to find in that pain a memory of God's touch.

Then, on Monday, while reading in Eugene Peterson's memoir, The Pastor, I came across a poem he wrote during a time of pain in his own life:
Flash floods of tears, torrents of them,
Erode cruel canyons, exposing
Long forgotten strata of life
Laid down in the peaceful decades:
A badlands beauty. The same sun
That decorates each day with colors
From arroyos and mesas, also shows
Every old scar and cut of lament.
Weeping washes the wounds clean
And leaves them to heal, which always
Takes an age or two. No pain
Is ugly in past tense. Under
The Mercy every hurt is a fossil
Link in the great chain of becoming.
Pick and shovel prayers often
Turn them up in valleys of death.
(2011, pp 206-207, New York: HarperOne)

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