Litany for Jacob and Esau

The story of Jacob and Esau is part of this week's Lectionary reading. The heartbreaking story of brothers who opposed one another and competed from the beginning, who only made peace after a lifetime of heartache and pain.

Before we were born, we were poised to be enemies;
We were taught to hate.
Before we were born we fought and tussled;
We were expected to compete.
Before we were born there was already bad blood between us
We were initiated into heirarchy.

We come from a long history of war-mongers,
Persecuters and persecuted,
Slaveholders and slaves.
We never expected another way but to rule or be ruled.
We have never known anything different.

This way continued for a long time:
We perpetuated it because we couldn't imagine anything else
Until the Christ came
And blew our minds open with a new gospel.

He gave us a new paradigm for living:
To love our enemies
To bless those who persecute us
To turn our cheeks to violence
To lead by serving
To share from abundant hearts
To make love the greatest virtue
To forgive and be forgiven
To care for the weakest among us
To regard God, not as enemy, but as friend.

It has taken many centuries for these ideas to sink into our consciousness
But, hallelujah! We are progressing
Christ has reinvented living,
The old ways are passing away.
And may the power of the new idea, the good news, the new paradigm of Christ
Give us hope for the future.