Jacob's Ladder

July 19, 2020

What you need: a watch, clock, or timer; a quiet creative activity; a candle (if it's okay, or an intentional object like a cross); a Bible, if you'd like; paper; something to write with; a snack. Have your class with a sibling or other family members, or enjoy this time by yourself.

1) Begin with a transition time – Peace & Quiet: enjoy a creative activity for about 10 minutes (journaling, clay, Legos, drawing, etc. Not a focus on a finished product; just enjoyment).

2) Next, clear that space, or move to another space, and light a candle (or place your intentional object). Settle in, and say a prayer, like: Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. (Psalm 119:105). Offer more prayers, silently, or out loud, if you want.

3) Here are the appointed readings for July 19. Find them in your Bible. Read them out loud.

Our focus for this class = Genesis 28:10-19a (words in italics are mine, btw):

Jacob left Beer-sheba and went towards Haran (running away, actually, to escape the wrath of his brother Esau. Jacob had stolen from their father the blessing meant for Esau! Their mom, Rebekah, sends Jacob to her brother Laban, to marry a cousin [!]- read more here .)

Jacob came to a certain place and stayed there for the night, because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place ( rock for a pillow, what! How about these ?) - he put it under his head, and lay down in that place.

And he dreamed that there was a ladder set up on the earth, the top of it reaching to heaven; and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. (Listen to this song, "We Are Climbing Jacob's Ladder" - a spiritual sung by American slaves. Read about it here , listen to this version and Pete Seeger's version ; there's Springsteen and lots of others, also. Which version(s) do you prefer? I feel like lighthearted, peppy ones miss the point - maybe. You?)

And the Lord stood beside him (!!!) and said, ‘I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring; and your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and all the families of the earth shall be blessed in you and in your offspring. (Can you even imagine? Has God ever spoken to you? How would it feel to know that you would be the forebear of countless widespread offspring!?)

Know that I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.’ (What promises have God made to you?) (Kind of a pop quiz, but a real question, too.)

Then Jacob woke from his sleep and said, ‘Surely the Lord is in this place—and I did not know it!’ And he was afraid, and said, ‘How awesome (meaning *a place full of awe*, not like oh, wow, this is cool, though it was that, too) is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.’ (Have you ever been in a place that made you feel that way?)

So Jacob rose early in the morning, and he took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up for a pillar and poured oil on the top of it. (Sanctified it. Read more about oil here .) He called that place Bethel ("House of God" in Hebrew. Bethel, formerly Luz, was a town 11 miles north of Jerusalem. Click here to read more.)

4) Think about what you read, chat about it if you have company, look it up online (if allowed) and see if there's commentary about it – do you agree? Do you feel called to do something?

5) Brainstorm & make a poster, your choice: Top 10 Promises God Has Made Me and/or Top 10 Things I Dream About . T ake a pic; email me ! (Thank you!)

6) Snack time! Prayers first: talk to God! "I'm grateful for, I'm worried about, I ask for," etc.
And/or take 5 or more minutes for centering prayer: relaxing into peace and letting thoughts go. Enjoy your snack.

7) Finally, clean up your space(s), and say a closing prayer, like: Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. - Plato. Blow out the candle, or put away the intentional object (or leave it there if you'd like to create a little sacred area) and say out loud: Go now in peace, to love and serve the Lord! Thanks be to God! ALLELUIA!

You can amaze your friends with this string play . Excellent for fidgeting. Try it!

There's a movie called "Jacob's Ladder" (1990, plus a negatively-reviewed 2019 remake) that's a disturbing cult horror/thriller classic, so titled because of the concept of a meeting of heaven and earth. It centers on the hallucinations of a Vietnam war vet. (It's rated R. If you decide to watch it, ask your parents first. I mean it.)

And the lily-of-the-valley type plant in Animal Crossing is called Jacob's Ladder. (The internet tells me so .) Click to see the real-life Jacob's Ladder plant , which looks similar but is different.

News & Tasks:
- Is there a virtual thing we can do? Share it ! So we can do it! Write to me or to Fr John .
- LMK if you want the links to past classes . You may find that the ways you think about things or the ways you act change over time.
- On-line book club idea : This Book is Anti-Racist , by Tiffany Jewell; and other books. All ages, led by YOU. What do you think? (I think you are awesome, and your voice is powerful.)
Also - how are you? When can we Zoom?

What can I, or Fr John , or our church, do for you?

LMK ! - Peace, Linda
Adults: Please share this email with youth. If you'd like me also to send these emails to the kids, please email me their addresses & your permission. Thanks! Linda