Genesis 37:3-8, 17b-22, 26-34; 50:15-21
Biblical stories are funny things. We make heroes and we make villains. Some characters get lots of air time, and some get none. We know some stories, and we have no idea about other stories. Joseph gets a lot of air time. He’s really the connection between the line of Abraham and the story of Moses. Often when we read these stories we focus in on the families and the individuals so tightly that we can only read them as though they are about this one family.
This family, though, is the family and descendants of Israel. They are the 12 tribes. So this family, with its dysfunction, is the chosen people of God, and by extension, us. What happens if we read this story like it’s about us, here and now, the church, the people, the nation, the dysfunction?
What if we read this story about a family who sold their own into slavery, only as a second choice to killing him, and then needed him again later to survive? What do we think about the brothers’ response to Joseph in power? How does this story ring in our ears today? What if it isn’t about one family then, but is about the human family or the church family now?