A whole week goes by. This is terrible! I promise you this blog is not dying on the vine. I had a lot of travel and extra duties this past week. Today we have, as promised at the start of this blog, mystical experience straight from the Bible itself. You cannot buy this stairway to heaven. This intermittent series will be published in chronological order and today’s is from Genesis.
My selections will naturally beg the question, “What is a mystical experience?” Why, for example, am I starting with Jacob and not Abraham to whom God spoke? Adam walked with God in the garden of Eden–what more amazing experience of God could there be? My criteria are open to suggestions and adjustment at any time, but one of them is to choose those that include a deep emotional experience by the recipient. For like it or not, our emotions create motion; they move us and create change.
Experiences like these are not merely ancient legends. God still sends life-changing visions to people when they are awake and when they are asleep. They have happened to me and many others. Have they ever happened to you? Write it to me and I may publish it here. You may be anonymous if you wish.
The Bible: Genesis 28:10-22
Jacob left Beersheba and went to Haran. He came to a certain place and camped for the night since the sun had set. He took one of the stones there, set it under his head and lay down to sleep. And he dreamed: A stairway was set on the ground and it reached all the way to the sky; angels of God were going up and going down on it.
Then God was right before him, saying, “I am God, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. I’m giving the ground on which you are sleeping to you and to your descendants. Your descendants will be as the dust of the Earth; they’ll stretch from west to east and from north to south. All the families of the Earth will bless themselves in you and your descendants. Yes. I’ll stay with you, I’ll protect you wherever you go, and I’ll bring you back to this very ground. I’ll stick with you until I’ve done everything I promised you.”
Jacob woke up from his sleep. He said, “God is in this place—truly. And I didn’t even know it!” He was terrified. He whispered in awe, “Incredible. Wonderful. Holy. This is God’s House. This is the Gate of Heaven.”
Jacob was up first thing in the morning. He took the stone he had used for his pillow and stood it up as a memorial pillar and poured oil over it. He christened the place Bethel (God’s House). Jacob vowed a vow: “If God stands by me and protects me on this journey on which I’m setting out, keeps me in food and clothing, and brings me back in one piece to my father’s house, this God will be my God. This stone that I have set up as a memorial pillar will mark this as a place where God lives.”
The Message, translation and paraphrase by Eugene Peterson. Painting: Circa 1490 (oil on panel) by the French School (15th century), Musee du Petit Palais, Avignon, France.