detail of Van Gogh painting of old bell tower

Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

So, Rebekah says “Yes, I will go.”

This is what we know for sure. That she says “Yes, I will go” to “the man,” who comes from who knows where, with lavish gifts. Actually, we know he comes from Abraham’s household in Canaan, we know he has been praying for guidance from YHWH, we know this is all part of an intricate plot by a divine author …

We don’t know, for sure, from the text, how much of this Rebekah knows for sure.

They have “the man’s,” the servant’s word for it. That’s a little different.

So maybe she knows a lot – more than the rest of her family. Maybe she has some communication with God that the text doesn’t mention here. She does speak directly with God later in the story, so we would not be … unjustified … in thinking her relationship with God could have begun much earlier, might be something like Abraham’s.

Or maybe she doesn’t. Maybe her willingness to say “yes, I will go” springs from some other motivation. We would have to guess at that motivation, or imagine it, because the text is silent on that point.

So, there are a lot of things we could think about Rebekah. That she has “faith.” That she is “adventurous” or “brave.” That she is “desperate,” willing to grab on to the first opportunity that presents itself for making a change in her life. Not that any of those things are mutually exclusive …

And perhaps, in some of those ways, she reminds us of ourselves. Or, speaks to us of selves we would like to be.

But all of those things are possibilities, places the text is open to what we bring to it, ways we might be able to see how other stories we know – maybe too well – could fit the shape of this story, of Rebekah’s story.

Because what we know for sure about the shape of this story is that Rebekah says “Yes, I will go.”

And that it’s her “Yes,” to this opportunity, that is indispensable.

detail of Van Gogh painting of old bell tower

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