Realizing that their father was dead, Joseph’s brothers said, “What if Joseph still bears a grudge against us and pays us back in full for all the wrong that we did to him?” So they approached Joseph, saying, “Your father gave this instruction before he died, ‘Say to Joseph: I beg you, forgive the crime of your brothers and the wrong they did in harming you.’ Now therefore please forgive the crime of the servants of the God of your father.” Joseph wept when they spoke to him. Then his brothers also wept, fell down before him, and said, “We are here as your slaves.” But Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid! Am I in the place of God? Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good, in order to preserve a numerous people, as he is doing today. So have no fear; I myself will provide for you and your little ones.” In this way he reassured them, speaking kindly to them.
Reflection: The purpose of the PC(USA) Peace Discernment Process, initiated by the 219th General Assembly (2010) and affirmed by the 220th General Assembly (2012), is to: “(1) Seek clarity as to God’s call to the church to embrace nonviolence as its fundamental response to the challenges of violence, terror, and war; and (2) Identify, explore, and nurture new approaches to active peacemaking and nonviolence, reporting to the 221st General Assembly (2014) with recommendations for policy and action” (Minutes, 2010, Part I, p. 68). To that end, the whole Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has been invited “to participate in a time of discernment, looking at peacemaking and nonviolence in the 21st century. We ‘invite Presbyterians, individually and corporately, across the church into a time of study and reflection on the root causes of violence and responses to it, and on peace, justice, and ministries of peacemaking and justice-seeking that honor the gospel, the history of the church, and the movement of the Holy Spirit as the church attempts to live out Christ’s command to love one another, even those we call our enemies’” (Minutes, 2010, Part I, p. 69).
Question for discernment: How can the human family come to a place where instead of seeking payback for the wrongs inflicted upon us by our enemies, we offer our enemies forgiveness, kindness, and reassurance, as Joseph did his brothers?
Prayer: Loving God, forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. On this World Communion Sunday, help us to see one another as sisters and brothers, as part of the one human family. Give us the strength and courage to love one another, even those we call our enemies.