Genesis 27:46-28:4,10-22: And [Jacob] dreamed that there was a ladder set up on the earth, the top of it reaching to heaven; and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. …Then Jacob woke from his sleep and said, ‘Surely the Lord is in this place—and I did not know it!’

A columnist wrote recently about his worries about reading among young people.  The issue he described was not illiteracy: the inability to read.  It was instead “aliteracy,” a person’s “being able to read but not wanting to.”

The discussion made me ask if our culture is also experiencing “aspirituality,” in which we hold the capacity for spiritual life but no interest in having it. Haven’t most of us become so enamored of our own abilities and priorities that we are indifferent to anything higher than ourselves?

The story of “Jacob’s ladder” describes a passage between earth and heaven, with “the angels of God…ascending and descending on it.”  With that vision, Jacob realized, “Surely the Lord is in this place—and I did not know it!”  He recognized the permeability of earth with the presence of heaven, and that understanding struck him with awe.

Are we even willing, in this self-reliant culture of accomplishment, to look up to see something—anything—above ourselves?  Do we even care that God is in this place, and that heaven regularly communes with earth?  Do we even care?

Or have we become “aspiritual”?

Psalm 88; Romans 13:1-14; John 8:33-47

Copyright 2020 by Carol Mead.  For noncommercial use and sharing only.  For more information on this ministry, and on a free subscription to these meditations, please go to the website (  Morning prayer can be found at:

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