God Wrestling

Well, we’ve become a bit international.  Yesterday there were hits on the blog from Israel, Germany, Switzerland, and France.  Go figure.  I am not sure how the algorithm works.  I know that certain words are automatically entered into a wordpress database that will cross reference them, and also that the blog posts are searchable.  Whatever the case, that last post about crickets generated some interest.  Are there a lot of cricket fans out there?  Not the sport, the bug, of course.

If I had to guess I would say it was probably the word ‘theology’ that was in the post’s title.  The idea of God is still powerful in the world, and people are continually wrestling with it in their own lives.  People who believe want to find more compelling ways to express their beliefs.  People who don’t believe want to explain why they don’t, want to support their rejection of the Divine with facts and figures.

And then the rest of us.  Those who sometimes do, sometimes don’t.  Those who feel God’s presence, but only briefly and rarely.  Then in the long stretches of wilderness-wandering the vision of God grows fainter and fainter.  Last night the Big Dipper was in the northern sky, but just on the horizon.  Its handle was visible, but the bottom of the ‘pot’ was faded, just hinted at.  For many of us, perhaps most of us, that is our sense of God.  Just there, an outline, on the periphery, but when you turn to look for a full view it has faded, leaving only glimmers and traces.

One of the Torah’s great stories is that of Jacob wrestling with the angel.  That is God-wrestling at its finest.  Not sure what we have in our grasp, something that seems so familiar, and yet wholly strange, even alien.  But we hold on for dear life, clinging, challenging, refusing to let go.  In a sense we are all God wrestlers, the believers and the non-believers alike, engaged in  the process and wondering what it means.  As Woody Allen said, ‘to you I am an atheist, to God I am the loyal opposition.’  The truth is we need both.  We can keep each other honest, keep an eye on each other.  Neither side will ever win the argument, but if we can have the discussion with respect and honesty, both sides will learn from it.  And I sense, in that alone, God will say ‘well done.’


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