In the Genesis reading for this Sunday, Joseph reconciles with his family. I’ve always thought of Joseph as a hero. He deals with trying circumstances. He takes care of his family.
But recently, as I was working on a sermon on Sabbath keeping, I came across a quote from Walter Brueggemann in which Joseph isn’t so much a hero as one who is seduced by the pharaonic way of life.
“In Genesis 41:14-36, Pharaoh, the Egyptian god who presided over the resources of the superpower, had a bad dream. In the midst of is limitless abundance that is the gift of the Nile, he had a nightmare about scarcity. You know the dream of thin cows and thin years of grain, several years of famine to come. But do you know the policy that arose from the nightmare of scarcity, as policies are always arising from our nightmares? In Genesis 47, Joseph son of Israel, child of the abundant creator God, signed on for the Pharaonic nightmare of scarcity He went to work for the interests of corporate acquisitiveness, organized an imperial monopoly, and over a three-year-period seized, in the interest of the corporate economy, the money of the peasants, the cattle of the peasants, the land of the peasants, and eventually the life of the peasants who were reduced to slavery. This achievement was all accomplished by a true son of Israel who was seduced, as we often are, into the nightmare of scarcity. You may be sure that this anxiety over the coming famine there was no rest in the surge of confiscation, no time off, no sabbath. the machinery of acquisitiveness worked 24/7 until Pharaoh, by the genius of Joseph, achieved total monopoly. That is how our people, by the book of Exodus, ended up in slavery; one among us believed excessively in the nightmare of scarcity that contradicted the abundance of the creator God. Thus, Genesis 47 stands as a prelude to the exodus narrative and indicates that a mistrust of creations abundance created the crisis of the exodus narrative, Pharaoh’s nightmare of scarcity disrupted creation and eventually evoked the plagues that constitute creation performing like chaos, a massive threat to order and abundance.”
Brueggemann, Walter. Mandate to Difference: An Invitation to the Contemporary Church. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2007. Page 153-154.
Will that preach?
There’s also a Psalm about unity, Paul tells us that God made us to be disobedient so that we can receive mercy, and a very memorable passage from Matthew. The dog-crumbs-from-the-table passage.
What is it in this woman that brings her to argue with Jesus?
Why does Jesus argue with the woman?
Does he really believe her to be unworthy?
Does Jesus change his mind?
Does God change God’s mind?
Why do we argue?
Which one do we want more?
How do we argue?
Is this the post this month with the most question marks?
What are you thinking about this week?