Jacob’s Ladder/My Ladder

This from the story of Jacob in Genesis 28:11-12:

“When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set.  Taking one of the stones there, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep.  He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching into heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it….  When Jacob awoke from his sleep he thought, ‘Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it.’”

In An Altar In the World , Barbara Brown Taylor writes of this passage and relates it to us thousands of years later.  She asks: “What if God can drop a ladder absolutely anywhere, with no regard or religious standards developed by those who have made it their business to know the way of God?”  Or in my way of thinking: What if the angels God sent down the ladder don’t look or think or act like me, or like I expected angels to look, think, act?

Those are, of course, both rhetorical questions.  Based on my experience, God can “drop a ladder absolutely anywhere” and the people he sends down the ladder often, quite often, don’t look, think, or act like me.  Still, they are angels of God ascending and descending the ladder.  The issue, then, is whether I recognize them as such.

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