Sermon: Jacob’s Fear

Audio for the sermon I preached on Sunday at the Dawson Creek Church of the New Jerusalem in Dawson Creek, BC can be found here.

The audio there includes readings, but leaves out a key one that was included in the children’s talk; it is Genesis 32:24-30:

24And Jacob remained alone, and a man wrestled with him until the dawn came up. 25And he saw that he prevailed not over him, and he touched the hollow of his thigh, and the hollow of the thigh of Jacob was disjointed in his wrestling with him. 26And he said, “Let me go, for the dawn comes up.” And he said, “I will not let you go, unless you bless me.” 27And he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” 28And he said, “Your name shall no more be said to be Jacob, but Israel; for as a prince you have contended with God and with men, and have prevailed.” 29And Jacob asked and said, “Tell, I pray, your name.” And he said, “Why is this that you ask after my name?” And he blessed him there. 30And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel; “for I have seen God faces to faces, and my soul is rescued.”

If you’re interested in more about the exegesis in the sermon, check out Arcana Coelestia 4232 and following. These chapters in Arcana Coelestia repeat a couple of caveats several times, to the effect of a.) I know the internal sense here seems pretty far removed from the literal text, and b.) this is describing states that are incomprehensible to people who haven’t gone through them, and that are a little obscure even to lots of people who have. In the past I’ve read these parts of Arcana and picked up gems without getting the whole picture; one really valuable thing about doing this series on Jacob has been that I think I’ve started to get a better sense of how it all fits together. I’ve still got a long way to go, though. But I love this stuff.

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