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By Christine Sunderland

Jacob’s Ladder by William Blake

It is said and it is written that Jacob dreamed of angels descending and ascending a ladder between Heaven and Earth, and that later he wrestled with an Angel of God.

Just so the Christian writer dreams and the Christian writer wrestles.

For we dream of Heaven but are rooted on earth; we wrestle with God’s spirit to create a ladder of love for the reader to climb.

In many ways we are that ladder, we reach to Heaven to bring it closer. We invite our reader to climb the rungs of our words, to enter this world of wonder.

My novel-in-progress, Angel Mountain, is about this dance. It is about the line between Heaven and Earth and how we can enter Heaven when we are still rooted on Earth. We do this by dancing with angels.

Jacob wrestled with an Angel of God. He saw God’s face and lived. He called the place Penuel, meaning “face of God.” He was changed forever, for God had touched him, had

Jacob Wrestling with the Angel by Gustave Dore

struggled with him, and found him strong and true. Just so we are given this moment again and again in our own lives, an invitation to wrestle with God, to pour out our own pain and suffering, doubts and despair, to cry out to Him for help.

And when we wrestle with God, God turns it into a dance. We hear the music of the spheres, the harmonies of the universe. We see glory in creation, glory in the inglorious, glory in every breath. We marvel at life, its breathing in and breathing out, its finely tuned system of cells and circulation, of genes and genomes, of life.

We dance with angels as we wrestle with words to describe the indescribable, to love the unlovable. The rhythms of life pulsing through our hearts with each beat, through our memories with each moment past, through our songs with each note and chorus, all add to this dance of love.

Old Abram, a Judeo-Christian hermit, lives on the side of Angel Mountain. He is the ladder bringing Earth to Heaven, and Heaven to Earth. His ladder is made of the waters of baptism in a pond formed by a waterfall pouring from the cliff above. His ladder is made of his own heart, bleeding for the burned and the scorched, silent sinners that wait his touch. His ladder is made of love. God through his angels enters Abram in his cave of golden icons. He enters Abram through his wounds, both Christ’s and Abram’s, for the wounds bleed into one another in the dance of prayer.

We wrestle with words, and in that holding and grabbing and testing of strength we do not falter. The words may not come but we continue to wrestle until they do. There may be times when progress is not made, when we must wait God’s pleasure, God’s timing. But as we wait we never lose our hold, our grasp on God’s Angel.

We hold on tight. We hold on through our faithfulness, through daily prayer, Sunday sacraments, seasonal songs. All of these rhythms of life allow us to dance with Christ, to never be far from his ladder of love. Slowly, we step on that first rung, writing down those first words that will pull the reader up with us into the song of salvation, the anthem of the angels.

We hold on tight to the Angel of God, awaiting his pleasure for us, awaiting his words as we read his Word. We watch and we listen. We who are blind try to see the glory around us, the beauty of truth, and the truth of beauty.

My first draft lay dormant for a month this summer, due to other commitments, works of love. Will I return to it? Will I have the courage and strength to wrestle with its pages, its paragraphs, its birth?

God willing, my wrestling with Him will be transformed into the dance. God willing, I will hear the music of the spheres, the angelic anthems. God willing, my will will merge into His, and like Jacob, I shall be renamed, reborn, so that my words will fall upon the earth as stars, birthing others who will learn to wrestle with the Angel of God, to dance to the music of the spheres, to sing with the harmonies of Heaven.

How wrestling with God gives me the words to climb to Heaven, by award-winning novelist @Chrisunderland #ACFWBlogs #amwriting Click To Tweet

Christine Sunderland has authored six award-winning novels: Pilgrimage, set in Italy, Offerings, set in France, Inheritance, set in England, Hana-lani, set in Hawaii, The Magdalene Mystery, set in Rome and Provence (all Oaktara), and The Fire Trail (eLectio), set at UC Berkeley. She serves as Managing Editor for the American Church Union (www.AmericanChurchUnion.com). Visit Christine at www.ChristineSunderland.com (website and blog).



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