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Lessons from Joseph

The Old Testament lesson for this Friday in the second week of Lent is found in the book of Genesis and may be very familiar to many of you. It’s the beginning of the story of Joseph, his father and his brothers and tells how Joseph ends up in a pit because of jealousy, insecurity and hatred.

The scripture reads, Israel loved Joseph more than any other of his children, because he was the son of his old age; and he had made him a long robe with sleeves. But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably to him.” (Genesis 37:3-4).  Therefore, when Israel sends Joseph to find his brothers, as he approaches they plot to kill him. “They saw him from a distance, and before he came near to them, they conspired to kill him. They said to one another, “Here comes this dreamer. Come now, let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits; then we shall say that a wild animal has devoured him, and we shall see what will become of his dreams.” Now, while this scripture seems ominous, there is a plan for Joseph.  Although Joseph’s new adventure began from a pit, it is not the end; his life is saved, when the brothers sell him for twenty pieces of silver to traders on their way to Egypt.

I have always loved Joseph’s story. Someone once wrote, “The secret of life is not where you begin but where you finish.” Sometimes that means that you “keep on keeping on” even when it would be so much easier to simply throw up your hands in futility and despair. That means that you “hang in there” and “see it through” when a person of lesser determination, lesser courage, lesser character would “cut his or her losses” and seek to escape.

I have always loved this story because of the lessons one may learn. There have been days when I have been too weary to “hang in there” or “keep on keeping on“ – either because of what was happening around me or because of something someone said or did to hurt my feelings. However, almost always, something happened that reminded of Joseph, and his movement from the pit to the palace. I’m reminded that even when I am unable to “see it through” that God is at my center and goes before me to clear my path. It is then up to me to choose to accept Her invitation to follow that path. With the unsteadiness of the world around us and the changes within our community, this Lent is far different from any that I’ve experienced. I suspect that it is the same for many of us. Therefore, I want to encourage you to be open to the invitation of allowing God to go before you to clear your path and then to accept the invitation to follow.

Lastly, Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Today’s Daily Lenten Meditation is by Zelda Kenney, Senior Associate for Pastoral Care. Watch for daily postings from All Saints Church as we take the forty day journey to Easter together.

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