The land is now littered with rocks, thanks to Dinah's dad, Jacob. I've made the list now. I don't want to miss any; I want to leave no stone unaccounted for.
As we've walked through Genesis in our Sunday morning Bible study, we've lamented (or celebrated) how human all these "heroes of the faith" are, and how slow they are to learn. Dinah's father, Jacob, is the best example so far. A schemer, a manipulator, a cheater from birth; he seems only to mature into a schemer with less will. His sons are increasingly out of control, and he doesn't seem to know what to do.
His obsession with one wife (to the exclusion of three others) and his devotion to one son (to the devastation of 10 others, not to mention at least one daughter, our Dinah) demands a modern-style addiction intervention.
But there is another side to Jacob--a side that seems to be showing signs of growth, of spiritual formation, of connection with the God of Universe, the God of Dinah's grandfather and great-grandfather.
Jacob marks his spiritual formation, his encounters with God, by building altars periodically throughout his life. He marks times and places, and he names the places for his God-encounters. So he's got "House of God" (Bethel, Genesis 28:22), "heap of witness" (Genesis 31:45), "two camps" (Genesis 32:2), "face of God" (Genesis 32:30), "God of Israel" (Genesis 33:20), "God of the House of God (Genesis 35:7, 14), and finally the "pillar of Rachel's grave" where his mother died between Bethel and Bethlehem (Genesis 35:19).
What do we do to mark our encounters with God? Do we pay attention to them? I believe that God is always with us. Sometimes God is that silent figure beside me who keeps me sane. Sometimes God makes me feel insane. But I believe any good that comes from me comes from God. Any good that comes TO me comes from God. Any time I sense grace, love, forgiveness, strength, wisdom, inspiration, rest, God is its source.
I need some rocks.