Genesis 45:3-11, 15 (NRSV)
Verse 3Joseph 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. Verse 4Then 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. Verse 5And now do not be distressed, or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. Verse 6For the famine has been in the land these two years; and there are five more years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. Verse 7God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. Verse 8So 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. Verse 9Hurry 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. Verse 10You 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. Verse 11I will provide for you theresince there are five more years of famine to comeso that you and your household, and all that you have, will not come to poverty.' Verse 15And he kissed all his brothers and wept upon them; and after that his brothers talked with him.
The season of Epiphany begins with a journey: wise men follow a blazing star to Bethlehem to worship a king, a newborn babe. It ends with another journey: three of Jesus' disciples trudge up a mountain and witness his dazzling transfiguration. From cradle to cloud, in scripture and song, we reflect during this season on our own journey of faith.
Today we begin a walk with a text attributed to Francis of Assisi. It is the basis of the prayer of the day for this coming Sunday and will be a worthy guide for our travels this week.
Joseph, son of Jacob and Rachel, faces his brothers, who long ago sold him into slavery. He could sow hatred in this encounter. That would seem just. But Joseph surprises his famished, trembling brothers, assuring them God has brought good from their evil intentions. God in Christ also surprises us, loving us despite our brokenness. So may we love—God, neighbor, and ourselves.
O Lord Jesus, make us instruments of your peace. Where there is hatred, may we spread love. Amen.