Sunday, January 21, 2007

Before the big three

there was still hatred in the region. Backstory. My New Year's resolution, made because of a man I met New Year's Day at a coffee shop, is to read The One Year Bible (NIV). It's January 21 and so far, I haven't missed a day, which makes this a more successful resolution than most. So, I'm still in Genesis, the book with all the great stories. These stories are some of my earliest memories. As I read, I can hear the scrape of wooden chairs on the basement floors of the two Illinois churches (Mt. Morris Church of the Brethren and Faith Lutheran in Forreston) I attended as a child and see my faithful Sunday School and VBS teachers in my mind's eye. Even so, every time I read them I see something new.

In today's passage (Gen 42:;18-43:34), Joseph is welcoming back to Egypt his brothers who had sold him many years back (they don't recognize him, but he knows who they are). This is their second trip to get grain for their families and father Jacob (renamed Israel) only this time they had to bring along Benjamin, Joseph's full brother. Joseph, who is very well placed in the government, prepared a banquet for the brothers, who are terrified, because they have no idea what is going on. Joseph had to momentarily leave and collect his wits because he was so emotionally overwhelmed at seeing Benjamin. OK. That's the setting.

"After he had washed his face, he came out, controlling himself, said, "Serve the food."

They served him by himself, the brothers by themselves, and the Egyptians who ate with him by themselves, because Egyptians could not eat with Hebrews, for that is detestable to Egyptians."

God had not yet chosen the Jews (he had, but they hadn't been told); Jesus was in the plan but not yet revealed; and Mohammed who would investigate both Judaism and Christianity for a replacement of the pagan gods of the region, was many centuries away. And still there was hatred.

Happy birthday, First Baptist.

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