Daily email from the Vicar Number 104

Good to see a number of you at our service yesterday.  Isn’t it amazing that with technology I can lead the service just as easily from Rotherham as from the Vicarage?!
I found Martin’s talk on prayer very clear and helpful to me personally.  Hope it was for you as well.
In our daily readings we are going to go back to Genesis just for a couple of days to finish off this particular section, and then we will do something else for a change.  We will come back to Genesis and the wonderful story of Joseph a bit later on.
So our reading today is Genesis Chapter 35.  It is a story of returns and things being restated and also some goodbyes.
Having got stuck in Shechem and with the ensuing horrible story concerning Dinah which we looked at last time, God specially calls Jacob back to Bethel (v.1) which is where he met with the Lord back in Chapter 28 as he left Canaan.  It is interesting to read that Jacob encouraged/ordered his household to rid themselves of foreign gods and to purify themselves before meeting with the Lord (vs.2-3).  That is always the right attitude to have when we come into the presence of the Lord.  He is holy, and we need to recognise our own sinfulness whatever that might look like.
Then Jacob restates the naming of Luz as Bethel (vs.6-7), the Lord restates Jacob’s change of name to Israel (vs.9-10), and the Lord repeats to Jacob the promises of descendants, a nation and land (vs.11-12).  Nothing wrong with a good repeat, and sometimes really helpful to be reminded of important things that we’ve been told before.
We also say goodbye to Rebekah’s nurse, Deborah (previously unnamed); Rachel, Jacob’s favourite wife; and also the quiet almost forgotten old man Isaac, Jacob and Esau’s father.  Do note that the reconciled Jacob and Esau bury him together (v.29) – what a lovely touch.
But in the midst of all this Benjamin, Jacob’s youngest is born (v.18), and Reuben disgraces himself (v.22), which will come back to haunt him later in the story.
In all, much to chew over.
In our prayers do remember what we heard yesterday about being in a relationship with our heavenly Father, and to allow that to flourish.
And then in our church address list, we pray for,
– Lynn & Paul and the rest of the family
– Jason, Corette, Pieter and Zarah
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