This is cool, because a lot of times, we find ourselves going through the motions of the Revised Common Lectionary*** and it is easy to 'default' to only preaching on the Gospel lesson for the day. As a result, the rest of the Bible gets ignored - and then we wonder why most people - even people who faithfully come to worship week after week - don't know the stories of God's people throughout scripture. In pastor-speak, we call this "Biblical Illiteracy".
All that is to say - I am SO enjoying this approach to engaging people in worship and learning scripture. Last week, we looked at the story of Jacob, which is always amazing to me. Jacob's life is proof that God can use ANYONE to accomplish God's purpose of love in the world. Jacob was a deceiver of the first degree - and yet - God entered into his life through a dream which transformed Jacob's life and made him realize that God was with him EVEN though he was a total scum-bag at the time. Jacob was a work in progress, as we all are, and God saw that as an opportunity instead of a dead end. God's grace doesn't pay attention to dead end signs.
This week, we get to look at Joseph's life.....specifically the end of Joseph's life. (You can read in Genesis 50). I'm excited about this story because it is an example of how people can have the kind of grace for one another that God has for each of us. You may know that Joseph's brothers were total jerks and tried to kill him. God had other plans for Joseph - so instead of dying, Joseph ended up saving a whole lot of people from famine and death. At the end of Joseph's story, he reunites with his brothers, who are TERRIFIED that Joseph will kill them, or at the very least, make them his slaves. But Joseph opens his great big arms in love and vows to take care of them.
I love this story because I think offering grace can be just as life-transforming as receiving grace. When we offer forgiveness to someone who has either literally or figuratively tried to kill us - we are set free on so many levels. We are set free from our own anger. We are set free from the power that person has over our lives. We are set free to love and embrace with great big God arms - which - as difficult as it can be - puts us in a position of being open and free to live as God's grace-filled, love-drenched people in this world.
Intrigued? Enter the Big Story with us every week in church - or check out sermons online at www.easter.org
***(another thing that makes no sense to people - but it is the prescribed list of scriptures that we normally read in a church year- talk to me if you want to hear more about this)