In Those Lonely Moments

In one verse, we learn that after Pharaoh’s cupbearer was released from prison on the truth of Joseph’s dream interpretation he no longer thought of Joseph and indeed forgot him.


Blessed, When Down

Joseph was a special and privileged young man, the most beloved son of his father. Yet, on the seeming verge of greatness, Joseph was brought down – first to the pit, then into servitude in Egypt, and finally to the dungeon. What a fall from a place very high to a place very low in the world.

It is tempting when we’re down to be forlorn and believe we’re alone. It often feels that way. The text this week teaches us to be open to something different. When Joseph was brought down to Egypt, God was with him. When Joseph was imprisoned after being true in his duty to God, God was still with him, directing Divine kindness his way.

God’s support and comfort strengthened Joseph’s confidence, helped build his commitment to be trustworthy, and enabled him to use his unique gifts in service to God and others. Though down for quite some time, it wasn’t Joseph who was distraught, with downcast face, in the prison house. Rather it was the cupbearer and the baker who were sent there on suspicion by the king. They were the ones with dreams, but without interpretation or an interpreter. Joseph, to the contrary, relying on the great Interpreter, had the wisdom to understand and explain the dreams of life.

As one whose head God lifted up, Joseph could see that each of the two dreamers would be called to “lift up the head” – both brought to account and to justice, and each in a befitting way.

When we are low, we should remember the lesson of this story: those who are high in station but low with God are lost. Those who are with God are comforted when down, and will, often in ways we don’t fully understand, ultimately rise.

Lessons From Jacob’s Reconciliation With Esau

1. When we are estranged from another but hope for reconciliation, we often consider reaching out first through messengers.

2. We may feel the need to offer gifts to the other, yet still  protect ourselves from feared harm in the encounter.

3. Reconciliation generally requires our moving from where we’ve been to where we need to go, as if crossing a river.

4. It’s not easy work. We recognize in our own experience the story of one who struggles in the night with beings both human and divine. We confront in our own darkness the image of our adversary as well as our falling short in meeting the expectations God has of us, and wrestle.

5. Though we may prevail in the struggle, our transformation often comes not cleanly, but with an injury that we bear for all our days.

6. Reconciliation brings blessing. In it, we can see our face along with that of God in the face of the other with whom we’re reconciled.

7. In the kiss that makes right what had been wrong, we understand that we are yoked to God Who comes to us in love and expects us to go forth in love with others.