I grew up on a Christmas tree farm outside of the bustling desert city called Riverside. We lived on a 45 acre piece of land that my family would work on for our lively hood. Every summer we would go on vacation, and every summer someone would break into our house and steal all they could. My Dad would do everything he could to try and keep people out. Alarms, extra locks, everything we could do, but it just kept happening. My family finally bought a large TV built into a huge piece of wood so they could not take the TV. Some things are sacred I guess. One year after our family vacation when we came back to another ransacked house. The thieves Broke my piggy bank that was shaped like a truck and took all the money out of it. I was 8 years old and devastated I felt so violated. I remember just walking around my house in anger. Flash forward to my life as a young man, I owned a Jeep and I never had the top on it. I always had jackets in the Jeep because if you don’t have a roof, you should have a jacket. People would always ask me what if someone steals your jacket, and my response was, I guess they needed a jacket.
Have you ever had someone steal something from you? Maybe it was your dignity, or your power, your influence, a position, a relationship? For some maybe it was not one big thing but a slow conditioning that you just accept the thievery as the broken part of humans, just let them take your jacket. The frailty of the human experience sometimes leaves us with a void in our soul from the loss of what we perceive as valuable, both material and emotional. Some of us have taken to the streets to share our outrage of the robbery, while some of us have given up entirely. We find ourselves looking for a way back to wholeness and unity.
The birthright (bekorah) has to do with both position and inheritance. By birthright, the firstborn son inherited the leadership of the family and the judicial authority of his father. Deuteronomy 21:17 states that he was also entitled to a double portion of the paternal inheritance
But Esau ran to meet Jacob and embraced him; he threw his arms around his neck and kissed him. And they wept.Genesis 33:4
In the narrative of Jacob and Esau in the book of genesis we see a story of broken trust and a robbery of the birthright or the bekorah. Jacob steals the birthright. He runs away, because he broke the trust of the family. After 20 years he comes home to face Esau, they have a beautiful moment of reconciliation. They weep together as they realize the bond they broke was more than just a bowl of stew and some land. It’s everything you want in a Disney special where they all sing and hug at the end. It’s the picture we all want of the Trump supporter hugging the Black Lives Matter person in the war torn streets of protest. I think we all want this deep down, But after that beautiful moment, Jacob and Esau go back to hating each other and deceiving each other again. Like the day after 9/11 our moment has come and gone. We fall back into our broken places that divide us into labels to keep us in our safe place. Jacob and Esau actually don’t ever spend time together until the funeral of their father Isaac. The reality is there is a difference between an event of reconciliation and a lifestyle of reconciliation. It’s easy to give a quick shout out on facebook for a moment, but how do I become a person who exudes reconciliation and peace. Maybe our politics and our tribalism won’t let us go there. Maybe we perceive there is too much at stake. Maybe my ego won’t let me, let go of my righteous cause for the little guy I’m convinced I’m fighting for. Perhaps the most punk rock thing to do is draw a line in the sand about reconciliation. The most anti establishment proclamation is to fly our fist in the face of divisiveness. This problem we face is as old as Jacob and Esau. What are we willing to sacrifice for reconciliation? How far can we go to bring unity?