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Speaking to the Soul: An Uncomfortable Pillow

Speaking to the Soul: An Uncomfortable Pillow

Feast of St. Bartholomew

[Go to Mission St Clare for an online version of the Daily Office including today’s scripture readings.]


Today’s Readings for the Daily Office:
Psalms 86 (morning) // 15, 67 (evening)

Genesis 28:7-10

John 1:43-51

It has always baffled me that when Jacob stopped to rest on his long journey, he chose to lay his head on a stone. Not a bundle of clothes. Not a pile of sand. I find it difficult to believe that he didn’t have access to softer materials than rock, but, the Scripture tells us, “Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place.”

Perhaps we too should invest in firmer pillows, because Jacob’s sleep produces two extraordinary results. First, Jacob has an incredible dream, seeing a ladder between heaven and earth with angels climbing up and down, feeling the Lord beside him, and hearing God’s promise to be with him wherever he goes.

Second, Jacob wakes up with a new sense of reality. He opens his eyes the next morning and exclaims, “Surely the Lord is in this place–and I did not know it!” Jacob realizes that the place where he has spent the night in the middle of a journey is “none other than the house of God” and “the gate of heaven.”

We may not have pillows that are such incredible portals to God’s presence, but there may be other ways that we can replicate Jacob’s experience of deeply, heavily, grounding himself. There are few images as solidly grounding as an exhausted head on a stone pillow! Jacob was fully anchored in God’s presence, completely at rest on a rock. May we all find moments today that are grounding–that remind us that God is with us wherever we go, and that God is in this place whether we knew it beforehand or not.

Lora Walsh blogs about taking risks and seeking grace at A Daily Scandal. She serves as curate of Grace Episcopal Church in Siloam Springs and as director of the Ark Fellows, an Episcopal Service Corps  program sponsored by St. Paul’s in Fayetteville, Arkansas.


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