Reading and rereading the designated scripture for this day evoked both head and heart responses. My heart response unquestionably settles in the story of Joseph and his brothers.
Surprisingly, the Psalm kept me primarily in my head, contemplating the concepts of fear, enemies, violence, etc. in the abstract. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians seemed preoccupied with policy directives for those living in the newly formed church, policies that related to then current cultural practices. The Gospel story of the man possessed by demons lent itself to reflections on the madness leading to violence in current times and the inadequacy of our societal response. I slipped right back into thinking policy.
So, back to Joseph and his brothers. Intense fear, hatred and violence permeated their lives prior to the story for today and are vividly described in the brothers’ decision to kill, then sell Joseph. In today’s episode, years later, the brothers are for a second time seeking food from the Egyptians, hoping to be able to live through a famine in their own land. On their return home from their first trip they had found all of their money in the sacks of grain. Now they feared accusations of stealing and severe retribution. Kindness in the face of fear and unexpected but welcome generosity is what they found instead.
And Joseph’s reaction to seeing his younger brother, Benjamin, touches my heart. Joseph is overcome with affection and is about to weep. He weeps, once he finds a private room. My heart responds to this passage with empathy and a fullness of joy.
Though the brothers did not have the Psalms we have upon which to reflect, perhaps they, like we, knew to “Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” Psalm 27: 14.
— Doris Greiner