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Posts Tagged ‘Genesis’

In the Pit

IMG_0001.JPGEver been in a pit?

Joseph was once in a pit … actually it was a well, but really, once you are in one what it is called does not matter anymore. It is dark, cold, full of creepy crawlies, and you’re alone.

Joseph had been thrown into the well by a band of angry thugs … his brothers.

Ever felt thrown into a well by someone you loved?

He was just a young man, the eldest of his mother, Rachel, the pride and joy of his father Jacob (Israel). Joseph had done nothing to deserve such a violent act of thoughtless sibling abandonment.

Ever felt that you were an innocent victim?

He was a good son, followed all the rules, even reported to his father when his older half-brothers were not. He had won his father’s favor, simply by being the firstborn of Jacob’s beloved Rachel.

Ever felt like you were being punished for the heartache of another?

He was a dreamer. Joseph dreamed of things to come, dreams that made the eyes of his brother roll, and confirm their ire for he and his superiority complex.

Ever feel like who you are created to be pushed you into the pit you are in?

Did Joseph’s rule following help him in the dampness of the pit?

Where were Joseph’s grand dreams when he looked up from the darkness he had been thrown into?

Where was Joseph’s protective and loving father, as he realized he was being hoisted out, not to end a cruel joke, but because his very own brothers sold him into slavery?

Sometimes, like Joseph, stuff happens in our life and we feel as though we have been thrown into a pit. Sometimes, having the best of intentions, the best of behaviors, the joy of being loved by family and friends, the greatest of gifts and abilities, are not the insurance of being able to live our lives in the light that we might have hoped that they would be.

Sometimes, we fall into the pit.

Sometimes, we are pushed.

Sometimes, the extended hand that lifts us out, is one that lands us in slavery.

That can all be rather dire.

But Joseph was never alone, not in that pit, not as a slave, not in an Egyptian prison.

God was there, and God’s stories are always centered around the theme of redemption, re-making, renewing.

After Joseph had provided opportunity for his brothers to prove that they had changed, after he was reunited with his father, Jacob, and after his father had died and was buried, redemption came for Joseph’s brothers.

Genesis 50:20 tells us that Joseph said to his brothers, “you intended to harm me, but God intended it for good …”

When we are in the pit we need to remember that we are not there alone, and we need to remember that God has a plan … for good to come from evil.

 

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76a4e78dc61b76b18e4ca0f1974c477f

Today is Ash Wednesday.

It is the first day of the forty days of Lent on the Christian calendar.

As I write this post it is Tuesday and I am anticipating a dinner of pancakes. Although I did not grow up in a Christ-centered home, this was a practice in my home growing up, and I feel a great sense of nostalgia in participating in this tradition.

Tuesday is often known as Pancake Tuesday, Mardi Gras (French for Fat Tuesday) or Shrove Tuesday. It is the day before the beginning of the season of Lent. It is a day of partying and feasting before participants give something up for the days leading up to Easter. I guess it could be compared to the human practice of I’ll overeat on Sunday, and start my diet on Monday.

As one who has not practiced the exercise of Lent, Ash Wednesday was something I had to research a bit to get an understanding of it’s significance.

The name Ash Wednesday comes from the reminder in Genesis 3:19,

“You are dust, and you will return to dust.”

In some churches, to truly mark this day, the tradition is to have a cross drawn, with ashes, on the foreheads of the parishioners on this day.

But what is Lent? Easter is on the calendar as Good Friday and Easter Sunday, what’s with it being a season?

Lent is the season of waiting, of abstinence, of sacrifice and of preparation for the Holy (Easter) Week.

Many people omit, or give up, something that they enjoy on a regular basis, for the forty’ish days leading up to Easter. Frequently we will hear of people giving up chocolate, alcohol, meat, cigarettes, fish, sex, television, shopping etc. For some it is a time of giving to the poor, in time or resources. For others it is a time of ‘adding’ to their regular schedule, practices such as increased prayer.

Whatever practice one might choose, it is done as a means of sharing in the sacrifice of Christ.

Now, I love chocolate, but I do not believe that giving it up is comparable in any way to the sacrifice of Christ. So, if you do practice Lent, don’t get too pious about your sacrifice … whatever we might do is infinitesimal compared to the rejection, imprisonment, scourging, crucifixion, death, and separation from God that Jesus experienced.

It is, though, a good reminder of all that Christ has done for us.

It is a reminder to pray.

It is a reminder to love others (as He has loved us).

It is a reminder of grace …

because we are not obliged to join in the suffering …

but we reap such benefit!

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mawwiageThe BEST wedding clip of all time:

Once you have watched that clip, it simply stays with you forever … and changes every wedding ceremony thereafter.

When God first instituted marriage in Genesis, between Adam and Eve, there was no ceremony, no reception, and no government participation (there was no government).

“But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

The man said,
“This is now bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called ‘woman,’
for she was taken out of man.”

That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.
Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.”
Genesis 2:20-25

Marriage is a covenant, and the Hebrew word for it, berith, means a coming together. It is a vow between a man, a woman and God. It is a covenant that God values so much, that He uses marriage to explain His love and promise to His people, how he sees the church, and His promises to each of us as believers. It is the oldest institution in  history.

The following video is from the wedding reception of Jefferson and Alyssa Bethke. Jefferson may look familiar to you because he is a popular spoken word poet with many videos on YouTube. Feel free to watch it all, but it is at 2:00 that Jefferson describes who invented marriage (God), and who it is about (not us). He also describes the biggest wedding yet to come.

“Mawwiage.

Mawwiage is what bwings us togethew today”

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