Genesis 37: 1-4, 12-28

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  • Family

    Marion Aldridge
    Remember the words of John Donne: None of us is an island, entire of itself. “Each is a piece of the continent, a part of the main, If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, As well as if a promontory were.” How did we get the foolish notion that we are not part of a family, part of a human family, that we are somehow alone? We need to nurture community, especially our family relationships. Community. Family. That’s how we walk through the valley of the shadow of death…
  • Proper 14A (2017)

    by Doug Bratt
    Some dreams don’t just disrupt a good night’s sleep. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. dreamt the United States would eventually “rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed … all men are created equal. He also dreamt “his four children … [would] one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” Dr. King’s was a lovely and biblical dream. However, it was also highly disruptive. It made the lives of his family, followers and himself intensely difficult. You might also argue Dr. King’s dream cost him his life. Yet his dream didn’t just disrupt his life. Dr. King’s dream also disrupted American society...
  • Telling Stories: Baby of the Family

    by Amy Butler
    Simon Wiesenthal was a Jew who lived during World War II in an area of Europe that was conquered by Germany. During the war he was forced to live in a ghetto and then sent to a work camp where he faced the possibility of death every day. One day in the work camp, Wiesenthal was summoned by a nurse to hear the dying confessions of an SS Nazi soldier. The soldier asked for forgiveness for the things he had done to the Jewish people; he wanted forgiveness as he was dying because he was afraid that his soul would not be able to rest in eternity unless he was forgiven. In his book The Sunflower Wiesenthal tells about trying over and over to leave the room because he was so afraid and because he hated Nazis. But he stayed and listened to the dying man out of pity and also because the soldier begged him not to leave. Wiesenthal recognized that the Nazi soldier was showing true repentance but he also knew that the soldier was ignorant, selfish, and a member of the group that had taken away the lives of his friends and family. Overwhelmed with the heaviness of the decision, Wiesenthal eventually just left the room. The next day he found out that the soldier had died and left all his things to Wiesenthal; Wiesenthal spent the rest of his life asking the question: "What would you have done?"...
  • God Meant It for Good

    by Dan Clendenin
    I like how the Old Testament scholar Walter Brueggemann acknowledges the evil in the world, but also expresses faith in God's greater providence. Consider his poem "Dreams and Nightmares" from his book Prayers for a Privileged People (2008): Last night as I lay sleeping, I had a dream so fair… I dreamed of the Holy City, well ordered and just. I dreamed of a garden of paradise, well-being all around and a good water supply. I dreamed of disarmament and forgiveness, and caring embrace for all those in need. I dreamed of a coming time when death is no more.
  • Sibling Keepers

    by Kathy Donley
    When we were in Copenhagen this summer, our tour guide told us a bit about Denmark during World War II. He said that when the Nazis first occupied Denmark, at first, they were not as harsh as in some places and Jewish people were left alone. But by 1943, the Nazis dissolved the Danish government and established martial law. And then the Jewish population was in danger. A German official leaked the news that the Gestapo was coming to arrest and deport all Danish Jews within the next 1 or 2 days. The chief rabbi was alerted and he interrupted Shabbat services to warn people to flee or hide. Hundreds of Danish Gentiles helped them. Mendel Katley was a 36-year-old factory worker with a wife and two children. When he heard the news, he rushed home to get his family. Taking the tram home, he saw the same conductor who had been punching his ticket every day for years. The conductor asked why he was going home early. Mendel told him that of the Germans’ plan. “That’s awful,” the conductor said, “What are you going to do?” Mendel said he didn’t know, that they needed to find a place to hide. “Come to my house,” the conductor insisted. Get your family and bring them all to my house.” Mendel was stunned, “But you don’t know me. You don’t even know my name and I don’t know yours.” The conductor held out his hand and introduced himself. Mendel was no longer alone. Similar acts happened across Denmark...
  • A Brother's Sorrow

    by Peter Haynes
    When I was growing up, there were two brothers, Tom and Dick - comedians known as “the Smother’s Brothers.” In their routine, Tom would often complain, especially when he couldn’t think of anything better to say: “Mom always liked you best!” They made this classic line hilarious. It helped those of us who had grown up in a home with more the one child to laugh at something which might otherwise make us cry or get angry. You see, every sibling has feelings like that at some time or another. “Mom always liked you best!” Laughter is definitely better than some of the alternatives, isn’t it!...
  • Preaching Helps (Proper 14A)(2011)

    by Scott Hoezee
    ("Who needs dreams? Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream, but it made his life difficult right up until someone killed him for his dream. Some of us have perhaps seen the film Mr. Holland's Opus in which a bright young man graduates college with the grand dream of becoming a great composer, with the bright hope of one day composing an American symphony...")
  • The Shadow Side

    by Cynthia Jarvis
    ("Other fears are external. They hold us hostage, silence us and dismantle our humanity. "The first time he hit me I was 19," says Anna Quindlen’s main character in Black and Blue. "I can hear his voice now, so persuasive, so low and yet somehow so strong...")
  • It's the Horizon

    Art and Faith by Lynn Miller
    The two images below tell the story of the pit and the selling. On the left is an image by Karoly Ferenczy. Painted in 1900, the action of the story is in the foreground. Joseph, stripped to the waist, is handed off to white-garbed travelers passing through Jacob's land. At the right, the same story is told by a contemporary artist Yoram Raanan. The action is in the foreground with figures standing around what appears to be a well-like hole.
  • When Storms Gather

    by Michael Phillips
    ("William Willimon's writings this week in his publication Pulpit Resource made some better sense of Peter's excursion into the waves then most folk seem to do. Jesus shows up in the middle of the night. The waves are crashing over the boat, the winds are howling, the sea and the storm conspiring to crush the dream and the dreamer...")
  • Fútbol Es Vida and Football Is Death: Qatar 2022

    by David Sanchez
    I want you to keep a number in mind as I pen this reflection, that number is 7,000. That is the estimated number of work related deaths projected in preparation for the 2022 World Cup to be hosted in Qatar. 7,000. Let that number sink in. Meditate on it. 7,000 migrant workers—mostly from Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh—will be sacrificed to put on a two-week sporting event viewed enthusiastically by a worldwide audience. And let us not forget the scores of women and children who will be trafficked to satisfy the sexual appetites of many of the football enthusiasts who will make the pilgrimage to Qatar in 2022. A human tragedy on a worldwide scale of epic proportions and most troubling, accomplished in full view of anyone who cares to look beyond the spectacle of the event itself.
  • Illustrations, Quotes and Lectionary Reflections (Ordinary 19A)

    by Various Authors
    Jacob had no coat of yellow, green and blue, but Esau's stew was red. We wrestle a lot with images in the text just like Jacob did. Esau swore to slay his brother, Jacob, but then killed him with kindness.

Other Resources from 2017 to 2019

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Other Resources from 2011 and 2012

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Other Resources from the Archives

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Children's Resources

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