Lent Day Four

One of the journeys which can be taken in Lent is in the Old Testament readings for Evening Prayer, with the story of Joseph. I intend to use this story, and the reflection on Genesis by Avivah Zornberg at various times throughout this Lenten calendar.
The lectionary starts the journey with Jacob settling in the land where his father had lived as an alien.

So now, using "The Beginning of Desire: Reflections on Genesis" by Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg (1995) Doubleday, New York...

The patriarchs, Abraham and Isaac, and Jacob himself while working for Laban, had been sojourners; unsettled. Jacob is seeking peace. Finally, peace for himself and his family; a home.

How many of us are "strangers in a land not theirs"? The modern agony of alienation can be illustrated by the asylum seekers who flee from danger and find themselves caught in detention centres. Or the continuing and not so modern story of the immgrant workers who find work in dangerous and deadly places.

But Jacob seeks to settle; to belong. Zornberg says of him: "Jacob's "settling" becomes not a fact, but an attitude, a mode in which he seeks to appropriate his life. In the most obvious sense, he would like to "settle down" in the Holy Land, after his years in exile and danger. He would like to read the narrative of his own life as entering a period of fulfillment, of closure, after the difficult conflicts and confrontations of his youth." (244)

Jacob had wrestled with God (at the Jabbok ford) and consequently renamed "Israel". Perhaps he is now tired.

He reads the family history, and "settles". But, "God, however, reads the plot differently." Zornberg 245

While we might "settle" into Lent, it will be a time of unsettling, of journey and alienation.

Pray for those whose journeys to flee discord flounder, as affluent and peaceful nations throw up ever greater barriers.