Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost
|The sea parted; the foe vanquished
Joseph and his brothers after Israel's death
|315: Come, Ye Faithful, Raise
380: There's Within My Heart a Melody
529: How Firm a Foundation
Psalm 103:(1-7), 8-13
|Creation makes way before God
God's love and forgiveness
|139: Praise to the Lord,
623: Here, O My Lord, I See Thee
|Matthew 18:21-35||Forgiving as God forgives||66: Praise, My Soul, the
King of Heaven
372: How Can We Sinners Know
|Romans 14:1-12||Accepting God's people despite disagreement||131: We Gather
337: Only Trust Him
557: Blest Be the Tie That Binds
566: Blest Be the Dear Uniting Love
699: Come, and Let Us Sweetly Join
732: Come, We That Love the Lord
It is the famliar story of Joseph. His brothers had shipped him to Egypt as a slave. His master's wife had sent him to jail. The Pharaoh's servants had conveniently forgetten about him in the dungeons. The whole region was suffering from drought. And now his father had died. Through it all, Joseph had kept the faith. He had listened to God, and God had blessed Joseph in spite of the hurdles and difficulties. He had power. He had respect. He had his brothers scared stiff!
His brothers were scared that Joseph would finally take revenge on them, now that their father Israel had passed away. I have to wonder what Joseph was thinking. The scriptures don't really say. But the scriptures tell us what he did. He cried. Did he cry for Israel, or did he cry for his brothers? Or perhaps did he cry for himself, the long, deep grieving of a son who had been away from home for so long? We don't know.
Joseph did something else, too. He cared for his brothers and spoke kindly to them. He brought everyone back together, acknowledging that everything had been turned to good by God.
This week's featured hymn was written by John Fawcett (1740-1817). The story is told that he first shared these words with his poor, rural congregation at Wainsgate in Northern England. Shortly before this, Fawcett had received an offer for a position at Carter's Lane Baptist Church in London. When everything was packed and ready for the move, Fawcett's wife cried that she could not leave--and Fawcett agreed with her. The wagons were unpacked and Fawcett remained in this community that he loved, serving over fifty years until his death.
Joseph was bound to his brothers through his father Israel. Fawcett was bound to his community through our Father God. Listen to the depth of feeling shared in these words.
|1. Blest be the tie that binds
our hearts in Christian love;
the fellowship of kindred minds
is like to that above.
|2. Before our Father's throne
we pour our ardent prayers;
our fears, our hopes, our aims are one,
our comforts and our cares.
|3. We share each other's woes,
our mutual burdens bear;
and often for each other flows
the sympathizing tear.
|4. When we asunder part,
it gives us inward pain;
but we shall still be joined in heart,
and hope to meet again.
Joseph knew it. John Fawcett did, too. There are ties the bind us together. A tender heart. A kind word. A sympathetic tear. All are shared within a family--God's family--our family.
God bless you--
Lection at HymnSite.com
God bless you!
|Passages suggested are from The Revised Common Lectionary: Consultation on Common Texts (Abingdon Press, 1992) copyright © by the Consultation on Common Texts (CCT), P.O. Box 340003, Room 381, Nashville TN 37203-0003. Reprinted with permission of CCT.|