God tells us this so often, but it is still hard for us to internalize it when the water is rising up to our necks! (Psalm 69:2) For comfort, we can read scripture stories of God guiding Israel and his family into Egypt or God guiding Moses and the Israelites out of Egypt. We can read of Jesus healing the sick of his time and the Holy Spirit guiding the early Christians after him. But our greatest reassurance may come from our own stories. We can look back on our own lives and see how God worked through people and situations to bring good ripples from hard times. Our lives are full of them! Let's take some time this summer weekend to quietly sit with God and remember the times of our lives where God's footprints are evident. It may be easier to see them in retrospect, but that only helps us to relax in the fact that God is just as present now. Blessings on your weekend! Love, heidi
"Come closer to me...I am your brother Joseph, whom you once sold into Egypt. But now do not be distressed..."
Today, reading this, I noticed for the first time that Joseph seems so much like the compassionate, forgiving God. His brothers have treated him so unjustly, yet, he is filled with compassion and love for them, beckoning them closer, revealing himself to them and, finally, rescuing them and their families from the famine. Isn't that just like God? I used to think the loving God was more revealed in the New Testament, but, here we are in Book One--Genesis--and the kind, forgiving God is mirrored to us through Joseph. The brothers don't really even ask for forgiveness in this reading, do they? In today's reading, they are too "dumbfounded" to say anything. Stay tuned tomorrow! For us, today, let's spend some time thinking about our loving, compassionate God, who only wants us close. No matter what we've done or how we have failed, God just wants us close. Love, heidi
"The brothers did not know, of course, that Joseph understood what they said, since he spoke with them through an interpreter. But, turning away from them, he wept.
Our human interactions can be so joyful and wonderful, especially as we are grateful for a great holiday weekend. It may be hard for us to imagine the sorrow and pain experienced by Joseph here in this reading. His brothers, his own flesh and blood, treated him horribly and now he is in a position to help them or retaliate against them. And what does he do? He weeps. So human, and yet, so Divine. Yesterday, I saw a group of kids playing outside on the beautiful summer day. One kid was away from the group, hollering out to them that he was sorry. They ignored him. He wept. I remembered how tough kids can be on each other! Sad to say that they may not get much kinder as adults. Today, let's be especially aware of how we treat others--those we know and those we don't. We are all brothers and sisters so let's treat each other with loving compassion. Love, heidi
"At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them, because they were troubled and abandoned like sheep without a shepherd."
We certainly don't have to have it all figured out for Jesus to love us. Jesus is especially drawn to those who don't have it all together. The mute man in today's Gospel, the crowds who followed Jesus in perplexed curiosity, all of us who wander and wonder...Jesus takes us right there and loves us the way we are. Part of that is that Jesus is God--our God who made us just the way we are. And the other part is that Jesus was human. Jesus wandered with us. Today, on our summer Tuesday, let's look at those around us with the love and compassion that Jesus shows all those he encountered as he walked. Love, heidi
"Truly the Lord is in this spot although I did not know it."
It's easy to imagine the Lord in the "good" spots of our lives--at the fireworks on the Fourth, gathered around the dinner table with family and friends, while walking in the woods. But, as we travel the journey, we soon realize that God is very present in the hard spots, too--the doctor's office, at the bedside of a dying friend, at the Dept. of Labor while signing up for unemployment. God is every bit as "there" in those trying times. Just like Jacob in today's reading, we can cling to the fact that our God wants to be part of ALL of it with us. Our God wants to be part of every second of every experience...even as we drag ourselves into work on a Monday-after-holiday weekend. Blessings on yours! Love, heidi