We often assume God works only through good things, but here we see God working through bad. Remember, Joseph’s brothers nearly killed him, then they sent him into slavery and exile. Yet when they meet up again years later, Joseph attributes even their destructive choices to God’s design. Where have you seen ‘God in the compost’, redeeming the rubbish of life?
- READ: Genesis 45:1-15 (Year A Proper 15)
When Joseph could no longer control himself before all those who stood by him, and he cried out, ‘Send everyone away from me.’ So no one stayed with him when Joseph made himself known to his brothers. And he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard it, and the household of Pharaoh heard it. Joseph said to his brothers, ‘I am Joseph. Is my father still alive?’ But his brothers could not answer him, so dismayed were they at his presence.
Then Joseph said to his brothers, ‘Come closer to me.’ And they came closer. He said, ‘I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. And now do not be distressed, or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. For the famine has been in the land these two years; and there are five more years in which there will be neither ploughing nor harvest. God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. So it was not you who sent me here, but God; he has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt. Hurry and go up to my father and say to him, “Thus says your son Joseph, God has made me lord of all Egypt; come down to me, do not delay. You shall settle in the land of Goshen, and you shall be near me, you and your children and your children’s children, as well as your flocks, your herds, and all that you have. I will provide for you there—since there are five more years of famine to come—so that you and your household, and all that you have, will not come to poverty.” And now your eyes and the eyes of my brother Benjamin see that it is my own mouth that speaks to you. You must tell my father how greatly I am honoured in Egypt, and all that you have seen. Hurry and bring my father down here.’ Then he fell upon his brother Benjamin’s neck and wept, while Benjamin wept upon his neck. And he kissed all his brothers and wept upon them; and after that his brothers talked with him. (Genesis 45:1-15)
- REFLECT: What do you think made Joseph cry? How does this story make you feel? What might he and his brothers have talked about?
- RELATE: Have you ever seen something good grow out of a bad / mean / cruel act or experience? Talk about it.
- RESPOND: Is God calling you to any practical response now? Pray about it, then act. If you are finding it difficult to forgive someone, you might pray ‘God, help me want to forgive …’
- REPORT: If you or your household do take action, text or email a photo of that action to Sanctuary with a brief explanation. We can use it during the service or, with your permission, add it to the Facebook page.
- RELAX: For older children, teens and adults: If you like musicals, why not watch The Sound of Music, and wonder together how Maria’s inability to fulfil her formal vocation is redeemed through the story.
Cartalk / Tabletalk
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