by Pastor Mark
We all tell stories, all the time. Bedtime stories. Stories of our day. Stories of our past. Stories that are entertaining and informative. They describe our history and our culture.
As Christians our primary stories are in the Bible. These are stories that are entertaining and informative. They describe our history and explain a lot about our culture. They may also determine our future.
This past Sunday in church we discussed the story of Joseph and how his brothers sold him into slavery. For them this was the lesser punishment as they had initially planned to kill him. This was all because Joseph was their father’s favored one and Joseph seemed to like to remind them of that fact. In fact, their father, Jacob, had even given Joseph a coat of many colors to show how much he liked him.
Fast forward a few years and Joseph had parlayed his Egyptian slavery to become the Pharaoh’s right hand man. The weather turns as completely as the human situations as a terrible famine grips the land. Joseph’s brothers are forced to go to Egypt to beg for grain. They are shocked to find Joseph in charge of the food stocks. They beg Joseph to forgive them and help them to survive. Joseph, the brother who had been sold into slavery, does indeed forgive them and says, “Do not be afraid! Am I in the place of God? Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good, in order to preserve a numerous people, as he is doing today. So have no fear; I myself will provide for you and your little ones.”
Why does Joseph forgive them? According to the story it is not just because they are family. It is not just because he was taught good values by his family. No, he forgives them because he is part of God’s story. As Joseph says, “to preserve a numerous people.” Joseph recognizes that he is writing the next chapter in God’s story. He has a choice in what direction it will go. He chooses to believe in God’s promise to his ancestors that they will be a blessed people.
This is what it means to be a person of faith. We have chosen to continue God’s story. A story that is not yet complete. We make choices that will help to complete Jesus’ call to love our neighbors as ourselves. We make the choice to see God in the faces of our brothers and sisters and, in so doing, keep alive God’s eternal story.
March 22, 2017
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