Only together, hand in hand, as God’s family and not as one another’s enemy, can we ever hope to end the vicious cycle of revenge and retribution.
Desmond Tutu in God Has a Dream: A Vision of Hope for Our Time (2003)
Joseph said to his brothers, “I’m Joseph! Is my father really still alive?” His brothers couldn’t respond because they were terrified before him.
Joseph said to his brothers, “Come closer to me,” and they moved closer. He said, “I’m your brother Joseph! The one you sold to Egypt. Now, don’t be upset and don’t be angry with yourselves that you sold me here. Actually, God sent me before you to save lives. We’ve already had two years of famine in the land, and there are five years left without planting or harvesting. God sent me before you to make sure you’d survive and to rescue your lives in this amazing way. You didn’t send me here; it was God who made me a father to Pharaoh, master of his entire household, and ruler of the whole land of Egypt.”
“I’m your brother…”
Joseph had every right to be angry. His brothers stole his clothes, threw him in a well, sold him into slavery, and pretended he was dead. When his brothers finally meet him again, they are terrified that Joseph will respond with revenge. Yet Joseph greets them by telling them of his relationship: “I’m your brother.” Announcing the relationship is to say you are forgiven; we are family.
Our relationships define how we relate to and care for one another: mother, father, sister, brother, and friend. Each of these terms carries certain expectations. In the church we often refer to fellow believers as “brothers” or “sisters” in Christ. We say this to demonstrate how God has made us family. Like earthly families, God’s family is not without conflict and division. How might you help God’s family to be better “siblings” to one another?
God, show me how to love all my sisters and brothers in your family as Christ has loved us. Help me take care of the people closest to me so that they may take care of others. Amen.
As you go, remember you are loved,
loved so deeply by the God who loves this world.
Drawing from the divine depths of this love,
may you join hands with others — even your enemies —
in making God’s dream come true.