Ocean Greetings from Provincetown

Beach sunset
Sun setting over sand and ocean with seagulls flying above the horizon. Image courtesy of Pexels via Pixabay.

Hello from P-Town. Please enjoy the poem defining "Goel," the Hebrew word for witness-redeemer.


We are camping in Provincetown, MA for the week.

Pr. Rachael camping in ptown
Pastor Rachael and Morgan the Dog are camping with their custom RV in Provincetown; image is used here with permission.


And for your reflection this week

“But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.” Isaiah 43:1


who stands
in the face of pain
bearing witness to suffering
never letting go until all are redeemed, gathered in,
reclaimed, renamed, reborn to abundant life in a beloved community where
none are forgotten, unwanted, unclean, or unseen
as all join together to face
injustice, making
the weak strong

This poem was originally published in my book, Barefoot Theology: A Dictionary for Pilgrims, Priests, and Poets.

About Rachael Keefe

Rev. Dr. Rachael Keefe is the pastor of Living Table United Church of Christ. She was called to Living Table in 2015 after serving in many varied ministry settings since her ordination in 1992. She holds graduate degrees from Princeton Theological Seminary and Andover Newton Seminary at Yale (formerly Andover Newton Theological School). Her ministry and leadership often center around advocacy and accessibility. Her writing has been published by Chalice Press, The Christian Century, Red Letter Christians, Working Preacher, RevGalBlogPals, and others. She is grateful to be in ministry with Living Table today.

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3 thoughts on “Ocean Greetings from Provincetown”

  1. I looked up goel. (I didn’t get that the poem explained until after, sorry).

    Wiktionary says: Noun. goel (plural goels or goelim) (historical, biblical) A person who, as the nearest relative of another, has certain obligations toward them, such as having to free them from slavery, to repurchase their property if sold through poverty, and to avenge their murder.

    So were Jacob and Issac goels? If so why was it ok for Issac to pull the trickery he did to get the birthright?

    Thanks for the new vocabulary word!

    • No, being a goel does not excuse or gloss over bad behavior. Their story does tell us that being a goel, a participant redeemer, can be messy and may use the fullness of our humanity – even the ugly bits.


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