Searching for Intimacy with God

Homily preached by the Rev. James La Macchia
Trinity Parish of Newton Centre
October 16, 2016
The Twenty-Second Sunday after Pentecost – Proper 24C

Genesis 32:22-31
Psalm 121
2 Timothy 3:14-4:5
Luke 18:1-8

My Friends:

8111420340_3eedc8bd24_bIt will come as no surprise to any who know me well that I am neither an athlete nor an ardent sports fan.  However, when I began my tenure as a teacher and chaplain at Saint Mark’s School twenty years ago, I felt obligated to attend all manner of athletic competitions, especially those involving any of my handful of student advisees.  And so, at the tender age of forty-five, I saw—believe it or not—my very first soccer, hockey, lacrosse, tennis, and wrestling matches.  This “brave new world” of athletic competition came to me as quite a revelation.  I can vividly recall my horror and alarm as I watched my first hockey and lacrosse games:  young men with sticks engaged in what appeared to be savage battle with one another.  The real eye-opener, however, came at my first wrestling match.  At first, I completely recoiled at the sight of wave after wave of grimacing young men apparently mauling and choking one another.  Yet, after that first shock of horror, I suddenly realized that in slow-motion, this fight might easily be misconstrued as a loving embrace.  In fact, all of these sports—but most especially wrestling—involved both struggle and intimacy:  the cornerstones of any significant and meaningful relationship. Continue reading

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Wrestling with God

Sermon for Sunday, August 3, 2014
Eighth Sunday after Pentecost
Genesis 32:22-31

This morning’s lesson from Genesis, in which Jacob “wrestles with God,” tells us what it can be like for us to wrestle with God.  For example, wrestling with God is usually something we do alone, like Jacob did.  Wrestling with God is often done in darkness in the middle of the night, just as Jacob did.  And wrestling with God leaves us forever changed, whether limping or blessed or both, as Jacob was.  This morning’s lesson from Genesis is a paradigmatic story about what it is like when we humans “wrestle” with God.  I’ll define “wrestling with God” as the encounter that happens when what we want differs or seems to differ from what God wants. Continue reading