“So the brothers sold Joseph to some traveling merchants who promptly took Joseph to Egypt” (ap). We know what that means. As sure as if Joseph had been taken to the Deep South through the Middle Passage or to the death camps of Nazi Germany, Joseph is gone now. He is lost within the capricious system where bodies are property bought and sold, wrung of all labor and then summarily disposed of. Swallowed into an abyss of human cruelty, he will never be seen again.

The story of Joseph is the story of how God’s chosen people are formed—how God transforms the clans of twelve brothers into a single people, the twelve tribes of Israel, with whom God’s covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob will be fulfilled. Unifying these twelve tribes, God creates a people to whom God will always be faithful, whom God will always companion, and whom God will lead into a Promised Land of peace and prosperity for all.

As God’s covenant extends through the generations, this part of the story is unique. God is not choosing between brothers. The covenant is no longer for Isaac or Ishmael, Jacob or Esau, Joseph or the eleven other brothers. God’s covenant extends to all twelve brothers. All are included; no one is excluded.

Yet human frailty threatens to sabotage God’s dream. The father chooses Joseph. The brothers choose themselves. Joseph disappears into the wasteland of slavery. Nevertheless, God still chooses them all. God dreams of the day when all twelve will be reconciled, living in peace as one. Can God’s dream endure the death camps of Egypt? Can the exiled one survive and still desire reunion with the ones who cast him away? Can the eleven come to grieve their transgression and embrace the one they banished? Can the dream for reconciled unity endure when hope disappears into cruelty’s abyss? Can ours?

God, within our tendency to exclude and oppress, reconcile us into a single human family. Amen.

Rece las Escrituras usando Leccionario en Audio
Leer Matthew 14:22-33

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Leccionario Semanal
August 3–9, 2020
Resumen de la Escritura

The strange dynamics in the history of Abraham’s family continue in Genesis. This week his great-grandson Joseph is sold into slavery by his jealous brothers. God will ultimately use this for good, as we read in Psalm 105, but in Joseph’s time there clearly is significant dysfunction. Perhaps the story brings encouragement to those of us who also have challenging family dynamics. Paul emphasizes in Romans that every person is welcome to call on the name of the Lord and be saved, but it falls to us to offer them the good news. How can they believe if they never hear? In the Gospel reading, Peter learns a valuable lesson about trust. He initially shows great faith, but he falters when he allows himself to be distracted by the waves.

Preguntas para la reflexión

Read Genesis 37:1-4, 12-28. In the face of cruelty, how do you continue to believe in God’s dream of unity for us all?
Read Psalm 105:1-6, 16-22, 45b. When has a glimpse of God absorbed your pain?
Read Romans 10:5-15. When have you witnessed Christian violence against persons of other faiths? How does your faith compel you to proclaim God’s love for all—“no exceptions”? What does this look like for you?
Read Matthew 14:22-33. When have you struggled to trust Jesus through life’s trials? How has Jesus revealed his presence and companionship anyway?

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