Worship at Home for Sunday, August 16, 2020

Tenth Sunday after Pentecost

 

Scripture Readings

Genesis 45:1-15

1 Then Joseph could no longer control himself before all those who stood by him, and he cried out, "Send everyone away from me." So no one stayed with him when Joseph made himself known to his brothers. 2 And he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard it, and the household of Pharaoh heard it. 3 Joseph 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. 4 Then 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. 5 And now do not be distressed, or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. 6 For 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. 7 God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. 8 So 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. 9 Hurry 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. 10 You 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. 11 I will provide for you there—since there are five more years of famine to come—so that you and your household, and all that you have, will not come to poverty.' 12 And now your eyes and the eyes of my brother Benjamin see that it is my own mouth that speaks to you. 13 You must tell my father how greatly I am honored in Egypt, and all that you have seen. Hurry and bring my father down here." 14 Then he fell upon his brother Benjamin's neck and wept, while Benjamin wept upon his neck. 15 And he kissed all his brothers and wept upon them; and after that his brothers talked with him.

 

Matthew 15:21-28

21 Jesus left that place and went away to the district of Tyre and Sidon. 22 Just then a Canaanite woman from that region came out and started shouting, "Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon." 23 But he did not answer her at all. And his disciples came and urged him, saying, "Send her away, for she keeps shouting after us." 24 He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." 25 But she came and knelt before him, saying, "Lord, help me." 26 He answered, "It is not fair to take the children's food and throw it to the dogs." 27 She said, "Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table." 28 Then Jesus answered her, "Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish." And her daughter was healed instantly.

 

Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

 

Sermon: Holy Moments of Family and Forgiveness

Families fill us with love and blessings, but they can also be places of hurt and resentments.  The story of Joseph tells us of the struggles between the twelve sons of Jacob. Ten of the brothers were jealous of Joseph. They felt that Joseph was the favorite who was spoiled by their father Jacob. Joseph was one two sons born of Jacob’s beloved second wife Rachel. He was also younger than most of his brothers and quite precocious. Jacob loved Joseph so much that he gave him the famous coat of many colors. The other brothers were well loved and clothed, but none of them had anything as stunning (and frivolous) as this. Imagine Joseph getting a Lamborghini while his brother’s got pickup trucks.

In Genesis 37 we read about Josephs’ dreams. In these dreams, Joseph’s brothers end up symbolically bowing down to him in the form of sheaves of wheat or another dream when the son and the moon and stars bowed down before Joseph. Joseph’s brothers were already jealous and resentful. These dreams made a bad situation worse, sibling rivalry to an extreme.

This jealousy was so extreme that the brothers fanaticized about killing Joseph. On the day that Jacob sent Joseph to check on his brothers who were shepherding the family flock, they plotted together to do away with this irksome sibling. Somehow these brothers convince one another that this is the right thing to do. Jealousy can lead to great self-deception and family dynamics at their worst. So, these brothers threw Joseph into a dry well (cistern). and then quarrel about what to do next. Fate intervenes in the form of Ishmaelite traders heading for Egypt. Joseph is sold to the traders for twenty shekels of silver.

The brothers tear up the hated coat, dip it in goat’s blood and show it to Jacob. Jacob is told that Joseph has been killed by wild animals and is no more. Jacob mourns the loss of his beloved son. The others try to comfort Joseph, but he will not be comforted by anyone for the rest of his life. Life goes on with a cloud of grief and guilt for Jacob and sons.

What about the dreamer who was so filled with promise? Joseph is sold to Potiphar, the captain of Pharaoh’s guard. Joseph freed from his family displays true gifts for organization and management. He rises in importance in Potiphar’s household. Then fate turns upon Joseph again. He is the victim of sexual harassment, falsely accused of a crime he did not do and ends up in prison. Joseph is a survivor. Joseph does not give up! Joseph the dreamer finds himself in the position of interpreting the dreams of others and does so accurately.

Joseph attributes his ability to interpret dreams to God. Pharaoh’s dreams have to do with feast and famine. Seven skinny cows devouring seven fat ones, seven thin heads of grain swallowing up seven fat ones. Joseph tells the Pharaoh that there will be seven good years of harvest followed by seven years of famine.

Pharaoh, who is impressed by Joseph, asks him what to do.  Joseph tells him to appoint a man to collect a fifth of the harvest during the seven good years and store it for use during the bad years. Pharaoh appoints Joseph. Joseph the despised younger brother, Joseph the slave, Joseph the prisoner becomes powerful, very powerful indeed.

Years later, the powerful and truly Egyptian Joseph finds himself presiding over a meeting with men bowing down before him and begging for food. These men are Joseph’s brothers! The dreams have come true. What is Joseph to do?

Family drama at it’s finest. In Genesis 42:21, the brother’s express their guilt in a conversation that they do not realize this Egyptian ruler can understand. The brother’s see their current situation as punishment for what they did to Joseph. They wonder why they turned a callous ear to Joseph’s pleading years ago. When Joseph hears them speak, he turns away and weeps.

How many of us have wept from the pain caused by family and friends who have betrayed us? The hurt, the anguish, the heartache of it all. Joseph the strong, smart survivor breaks down and weeps. We all have wept or will weep with pain and love for our families.

Amazingly, Joseph looks over his life and sees God’s hand of blessing through all the pain and struggle. Joseph has an epiphany, a  God light shining moment. Joseph realizes that his being in Egypt at this moment in time has nothing to do with his brothers’ treachery, but with God. God wanted Joseph in Egypt to save his family. Weeping Joseph forgives his brothers. Weeping Joseph saves his family. Joseph is a truly amazing person.

In our lives God’s hand is present. In the joys, struggles and pain, we may not always see it. Our families can be both blessings and banes, but God is a constant presence. Joseph is one of the most amazing people in the Old Testament. He not only survives, but he rises to power. He not only weeps from a place of deep hurt, he forgives out of place of deep love. Joseph in his sorrow listens to God and sees all that has happened as a blessing for his family. A holy moment of blessing, forgiveness and family.

Prayer:
God who guides our lives in mysterious ways. Be with us in the struggles with family and friends. Help us to dream dreams and live in your grace. Be with us in times of plenty and in times of want. Help us to see the good even in the worst of situations. Help us to reach out to you for guidance in all things.  Give us the grace to forgive and to accept forgiveness.

Today we are blessed to baptize a baby into the family of faith. May you be with Elle Marie and her family this day. May she be blessed by love and hope always.

Let us take a moment to lift ourselves and others in prayer. We pray for those on our prayer list. Let us read through the names on our prayer list and imagine that God is surrounding them and us with healing love and strength.

Silent Prayer followed by the Lord’s Prayer

Prayer list:

Simon, Howard, Julia, Ahna, Mike, Josh, Priscilla, Duane, Janet, Grandpa David, Dorothy, Jacob, Jenny, Ann, Dale, Gayle, Don, Cheryl, Dustin, Pat, Student with eating disorder, Tate, Patricia, Roland, Aryanna, Amanda, Virginia, Matthew, Tom, Naomi, Vic, Jennelle, Charlie, James, Rick, Christy, Reagan, Kim, Lee, Kevin, Gaylynn, Liz’s sister in law, Naomi, Nathan, Jason, Cheryl, Daniel, Betty, Dax, Carter, Laurie’s mom, Jock, Nancy, Pat, Malachi and Karen, Carolyn, Ellen, Shirley, Mary, Karen, Paul, Hal, Richard, Crystal, Edie, Paula, Jim, Truett, Brett and Danielle, Judy, Laura F, Shirley, Butch, Joyce., Macie, Michel, Dorothy L, family of child who donated a heart to Truett, Corey, Lauren, Anonymous Cancer Patient, Bernice, Mike, Gary S., Linda, Pat, Gary, Dave, Laurie Lee, Gail, Brenda, Breana, Dean, Corey, Jeff, Nancy, Terry, Rev. Cantrell, Family of Garrett Braun, Bev, Edgar, Angie, Mark, Mystick who has been missing as requested by Aunt Laura, prayers for someone who has been wronged.

Special prayers:

  • Elle Marie Fletcher who will be baptized on Sunday.
  • Good news! Birth of Collins Grace on Friday, August, granddaughter of Kevin and Vickie Huebner.
  • The people of Beirut, Lebanon after the explosion on August 4.
  • Healing from racism, classism, violence and more.
  • Prayer request for all the people who have been affected by the Coronavirus.
  • Those members of our church and wider community who have been serving others

Goodwill/Offering

  • Give thanks for all God’s blessings during the storms of life.
  • Share what you have whatever it is, it is enough.
  • Donate via PayPal on our website or write a check.

Prayer of Dedication

The earth has yielded its increase;
God, our God, has blessed us.
May God continue to bless us;
let all the ends of the earth revere him.

May God bless these our offerings as a sign of our thanksgiving. Amen.

 

Benediction

May the road rise to meet you,

May the wind be always at your back.

May the sun shine warm upon your face.

And the rain fall soft upon your fields.

And until we meet again,

May you be held in the palm of God’s hand.

                        Old Irish Verse

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