Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Genesis 29:15-28

Pentecost + 6 - Year A

Genesis 29:15-28

With a passage like this we could go riding off in all directions. There is no prioritizing of one theme over another. While appreciating a trickster getting tricked, this year I am more interested in a review of what it means to be "wifed".

(21) Then Jacob said to Laban, "Give me my wife . . ."
(27) then Laban gave him his daughter Rachel as a wife.

To be wifed is more than to have been "gone into". Leah had been gone into without being acknowledged as a wife. Child bearer, yes; wife for Jacob, no.

To reduce a relationship to the genitals, as the United Methodist Church as done to define away a gay or lesbian relationship, is to reduce love for Rachel to sex with Leah or one of the maidservants. This is certainly not a story that translates well into our time and place. None-the-less, it is helpful to aid us in not limiting our discriminatory inclinations to simply one style of culturally regulated sexuality.

"Wife", in a relationship of any orientation, is a word loaded with tons of over-tones. It is not a subordinate role or a director-ship. Consider the many ways you have been wifed or you have wifed another - this is not a sex term - it is a relationship beyond gender or role.

Rachel was Jacob's wife more than 14 years before he went into her. For more years than either anticipated, there were no children. Neither a ceremony, nor sexual partnering, nor children make a wife. Rejoice and make a parable out of this story - How would Jesus retell this story to make it come alive again? And you?

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