A Family Reunion

Posted by on Sep 8, 2014 in Faith Words |

Words of Faith

Rev. Rita S. Platt

August 17, 2014

“A Family Reunion”

Genesis 45:1-28

How many of you have regular family reunions? They can be interesting times, right? All the relatives in one place – telling the family stories and revealing the family secrets…

Sometimes they can be very funny.  Most families have one of those relatives…Aunt Mary …Uncle Bob…Cousin Tom. You just know the minute they appear something is going to happen. I think that’s why I enjoyed the National Lampoon movies. In so many ways Clark Griswold reminded me of myself. I was the family organizer.  Remember Clark – he had these dreams of what it would look like when the family got together; unfortunately it never seemed to work out the way he thought.

There are other kinds of family reunions that are wondrously emotional. Like the one on Nov 9, 1989, when the East German government announced  that citizens could visit West Germany.  Crowds of East Germans crossed and climbed onto the wall, joined by West Germans on the other side in a celebratory atmosphere. The Berlin Wall had been in place since Aug 13, 1961 –

28  years…families had been separated…

The stories of adult children who locate their birth parents: as a result they discover a whole  new  family. It doesn’t take long to see how much they have in common. Sometimes there’s even a physical resemblance. When families are reunited after many years of separation, the scene can almost defy description.

This morning’s scripture is the story of reunion. It had been years between the day the brothers turned on Joseph and when they turned up in Egypt looking for something to eat because they were having a famine back home. Joseph knew who they were right off the bat, but because he was wearing his fancy uniform and speaking Egyptian, they didn’t recognize him.

And what did he do?  Did he great them with a warm greeting and an embrace?

No!

Why not?  Vs 9: He remembered his dream about them…and I think all the pain of how they had treated him began to bubble up to the surface… and the years of pain he endured…all because of them.

So he pretended he thought they were spies and he spoke harshly to them: (Chapter 42, vs. 16) “Send one of your number to get your brother, the rest of you will be kept in prison.” He kept them in custody for 3 days (Vs 18-20). He gave them some grain to take home and he planted their money in the bags.

The 2nd journey – Chapter 43:  They return to Egypt and take Benjamin. Now this is the time for the emotional family reunion – not quite!

They are guests at a feast and Joseph gives them grain; but Joseph has his own silver cup slipped into Benjamin’s sack, setting him up for a charge of stealing.  Judah, who, at Genesis 37:26 lobbied for selling Joseph rather than killing him, steps in to plead for Benjamin’s release for the sake of their father Jacob, whose “life is bound up in the boy’s life” (44:30) and he volunteers  to   be Joseph’s slave if only  Joseph will let Benjamin go free.

It is at this point, that the emotional reunion begins.

That’s the scripture we read a little while ago.

Some people think this is a story of Joseph saving Israel from dying of starvation… that’s a part.

Almost as much as it is the story of how Israel was saved from famine and extinction, it is the story of how Joseph was saved as a human being.

Joseph could have disclosed his identity right at the beginning… but he didn’t . When he does, it is not because he thinks they have changed completely.  Notice Joseph’s parting directive – “Don’t get into an argument on the journey!”  He knew his brothers pretty well, didn’t he?

This morning I want us to think about the relationships in our life, particularly the ones where you have experienced hurt. What if you were reunited and at that reunion you had the power to help that person? Image in your mind…they need food… can you provide for their need? Would you be willing to lovingly give them what they need?

If the answer is “no” or “I’m not sure” God wants to change you. God wants to heal you of the pain you are carrying from the past. This morning will you let God begin that work in you?