Family gatherings. What do we do with them? I have a large extended family. Most have stuck nearby. No need for reunions. We have several gatherings every year.
It is always a chaotic stampede of the old and young, people dropping in and out.
One of my favorites was when we had a surprise wedding for my uncle right after Thanksgiving dinner.
Then there are the gatherings when someone is missing and will never return. At least they are not supposed to.
We see one of the more unusual family reunions in the story of Joseph today.
His family came looking for help, his brothers who had ruined his life and lost him to slavery. In the meantime Joseph had saved the world by preparing for famine, now the famine was upon them and his family needed help. They didn’t know who he was. They never expected to see him again. “I am Joseph. Is my father still alive?”
To say they were more than a little surprised doesn’t catch the hope and horror, the joy and the terror that overcomes them in the silence.
Judgment has a way of sneaking up on us.
What would Joseph do?
We see the mystery of God’s judgment at work in the story of Joseph.
As Faulkner said, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past”
Judgment catches up. The outrage of an unjust universe is resolved with a mysterious and holy irony.
We are judged by those that we harm and take advantage of. That is the deep message of the story of Joseph. And that judgment is surprising. It sneaks up on us.
We are judged by those that we harm and take advantage of. That is the way of God in the world.
It is the message of Joseph. It is also the message of Jesus.
The one whom we crucify is the one who judges us ultimately.
Surprising reunions are a persistent theme in the way of God in the world.
Those whom we try to forget will be remembered, they will return.
The Canaanite woman, the dog under the table, reminds Jesus about how the universe really works. Those who get the crumbs sit in judgment upon those who sit at the table.
Judgment has a way of sneaking up on us.
Surprising family reunions are always happening always waiting.
Jesus speaks about our hearts and what defiles us. It is ultimately about how we treat one another. It reveals where our heart truly is.
That is the secret of biblical morality, it isn’t a legal or moral code that we pass or fail.
It isn’t about agreeing about what or how or why.
It is about caring. It says something about who God is and the way of God in a world that tries to forget those who are under the table.
Attend to the heart of the matter.
Jesus bids us attend to our hearts and what proceeds from them.
Is caring for others and their dignity the most important part of our behavior?
Remembering and honoring those who will judge us?
Is that what comes from our hearts?
Surprising judgment and surprising reunion.
Family gatherings. What do we do with them?