Marc Chagall: Jacob's Ladder (one of several)
This Much Is Clear
I worry where the world is headed,
With climate change not only dreaded,
But now a chunk the size of Delaware
Has broken from Antarctica. Beware!
I worry that, back home, the President,
- By tweets and, what he says, the evidence,
Non-curious, and with a one-track mind -
Cares just for money, sex, his base and kind.
He has no understanding of us all;
But kings and rulers often have appalled
The people they are meant by God to serve;
We do not always get what we deserve.
And so, although in pain creation groans,
A God of love can ne'er despair condone;
Since hope in Christ's the opposite of fear,
Then we, his people, still can make it clear.
Scott L. Barton
So then, brothers and sisters, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh— for if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.
I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
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This Stairway to Heaven Really Makes Me Wonder
"How awesome is this place," he says,
Where hope and presence intersect;
It is as if God lives where, missing
What you long for, you expect
It yet to be!
Though you can't see
What otherwise would leave you stunned;
And so the LORD to Jacob says,
"I will not leave you 'til I've done
What I have promised."
So, I ask,
Does this mean God might someday leave?
The text implies as much!
Perhaps God's "present" when we cleave
To what, in hope, we cannot see,
And God's house - Bethel - is that place
And time when you and everyone
Now realize that just by grace
Are more than moon and heaven ours,
And stairways climb to more than stars.
Scott L. Barton
Jacob left Beer-sheba and went towards Haran. He came to a certain place and stayed there for the night, because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place. And he dreamed that there was a ladder set up on the earth, the top of it reaching to heaven; and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. And the Lord stood beside him and said, ‘I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring; and your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and all the families of the earth shall be blessed in you and in your offspring. Know that I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.’ Then Jacob woke from his sleep and said, ‘Surely the Lord is in this place—and I did not know it!’ And he was afraid, and said, ‘How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.’
So Jacob rose early in the morning, and he took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up for a pillar and poured oil on the top of it. He called that place Bethel; but the name of the city was Luz at the first.