Let us pray that through us others find the way to life in Christ: Father, we come, reborn in the Spirit, to celebrate our sonship and daughtership in the Lord Jesus Christ. Touch our hearts and help them grow toward the life you have promised. Touch our lives and make them signs of your love for all. Grant this through Christ our Lord who eternally dwells with you and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forevermore. Amen.
(Sunday Missal alt.)
Remember, you reap what you sow! The elder brothers of Joseph sold him into slavery and deceived their aged father, Israel, about the circumstances. Later in life, Joseph rose to be second in command of all Egypt and his brothers come to Egypt seeking food. Joseph recognized them but they did not recognize him. Now they stand before Joseph who has power and position over his brothers, and they stand before him powerless. How will Joseph utilize his power and position?
The great beauty of this story is that Joseph broke the cycle of malice, revenge, hatred, and violence (Genesis 45:1-16). Joseph reaches out in compassion, forgiveness, and reconciliation! This is also the story of God’s love revealed in Jesus Christ: Through forgiveness God reaches out to us in reconciliation and embrace.
What about our reconciliation with others? Perhaps, at times, the least we can do is not be malicious and mean to those from whom we are estranged. Nevertheless, are you ready to seek to be reconciled with others as much as you are able? The story of Joseph tells us that it is possible. The story of Jesus tells us it is possible. The stories of Joseph and Jesus tell us that the cycles of malice, revenge, hatred, and violence are broken! May we live out our lives with that Good News!
Many of God’s blessings are free, but some cost us greatly if we pursue them (Genesis 32:22-31). The Patriarch Jacob received a limp and that limp can be compared to the scars of Jesus’ hands and feet. As I said, some blessings have a high cost, if we pursue them. I still have my struggles with God, and I assure you God still has his struggles with me, but the purpose of God’s struggling with us is to keep us on God’s path. To keep us on the path of Christ which is the way of kindness, peace, and love.
Although Jacob was a schemer, a cheat, and a deceiver, he found himself beloved of God. God knows our deceits, our weaknesses, and our sins, yet God loves us so much that God wrestles with us, or else you would not be reading this. God loves us and engages where we are, and if you have your struggles with God do not be alarmed, Jacob had his, so hang on like Jacob…who became Israel.
Let us pray to the Father whose kindness never fails: God our Father, gifts without measure flow from your goodness to bring us your peace. Our life is your gift. Guide our life’s journey, for only your love makes us whole. Keep us strong in your love.
Galax First United
306 West Center Street
Galax, VA 24333