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Rubens, Reconciliation of Jacob and Esau

Eventual grace

The long path to reconciliation

My mother and her sister (my favorite aunt) recently saw each other across a row of elliptical machines at the local YMCA. After not speaking for almost 20 years, they agreed to meet for coffee. The details of their estrangement are too many and complex to name. Ours has always been a volatile family. We claim generations of unusual behavior—we're a cast of characters both charming and erratic.

When I was a young pastor, I heard Lutheran liturgical scholar Gordon Lathrop say, "You don't have to knock very hard on any door in your parish to find some sort of agony behind that door." That's true for the pastor's door as well.


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