my favorite version of my favorite hymn
You know the story of Jacob and Esau? from the bible? I graduated seminary, I've heard the story a few different times. But I had forgotten how it ended. Tonight I reheard the story with a new perspective.
Here’s how it went down for Jacob and Esau:
Esau was the first-born son, so he got the birthright. After working very hard in the fields, Esau returned home very hungry. Jacob said that he would give Esau a mess of pottage if Esau gave Jacob his birthright. Esau agreed.
Once Esau fully comprehended what he had done, he was furious with Jacob and vowed to kill him. At their mother’s urging, Jacob fled the land and began working with some relatives.
After many years, Esau (and four hundred men) discovers Jacob’s whereabouts. Jacob, likely thinking that this is the end of the road, “bowed himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother” (Genesis 32:3).
What do you think happened next? When I heard this story again tonight, I knew that Jacob didn’t die, so I was thinking that a host of angels appeared and frightened Esau off or something like that. But I was shocked—astounded at what happened next.
“And Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him: and they wept” (Genesis 33:4).
Now, I have a very vague memory of that story. I had almost completely forgotten it. Remembering it, and rereading it, has touched me. It made me think about the people whom I need to forgive, regardless of how they might have deceived me or cheated me. I had forgotten that they forgave.
Because, in the end, we’re all family, right?