A Message from Pastor Kaji

January 18th,2024 Categories: Weekly Letter

Sunday January 21

Click here for Pastor Kaji’s sermon “In Your Gut” from last Sunday

Dear Church:

I have to say: this Epiphany season has been quite fascinating to me as a preacher. As I shared last week, my own preaching has been convincing me to try a few things differently. (If you’d like to hear more, check out last Sunday’s sermon.) I admit that it has even been frustrating, as it requires me to do some things differently that I was perfectly comfortable to leave alone! And this is how it goes with growth, I’m told. 
Meanwhile, I’ve had the chance to speak to a number of you about your own challenges in your faith walk. So many of you are looking for the signs. When will things get better? When will victory come? Since this has come up so often, I’ve decided to change my plan a bit for this Sunday’s reflections. I want to get into it. Meanwhile, I want to commend to you the Seasons series I preached on Parker Palmer’s spiritual seasons. I do think it’s helpful grounding as we get at these crucial questions, if you have time to listen ahead of Sunday. 
Either way, as you prepare for worship this week, I encourage you to take the story of Joseph and consider the ways God ministers to you in your rest. Can you point to a time when God made use of your dreaming or resting to reach you? Epiphanies come in many, many ways. 
I can’t wait to see you in worship. 
Pax, Christi, 

Pastor Kaji

Genesis 37: 1-28 (ILB, p. 34):

1 Then Jacob took up residence in the place where Isaac had settled, the land of Canaan.
2 These are the generations of Joseph.  When Joseph was seventeen years old, he used to accompany his siblings, the children of Bilhah and Zilpah, Jacob’s spouses, as they herded the flocks. Joseph would tattle on the others to Jacob while they tended the animals, always presenting them in a negative light.
3 Now, Israel doted on the youth, because he was a child of his old age; he loved Joseph more than the others. And Israel gave Joseph a richly ornamented robe.*  4 When the brothers saw that Israel loved him best, they were jealous and had nothing but words of contempt for the boy.
5 Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated Joseph all the more. 6 Joseph had said to them, “Listen to my dream. 7 We were all out in the field binding sheaves, when all at once my sheaf straightened itself and remained standing upright, and your sheaves circled around my sheaf, bowing down as if paying homage to my sheaf.”
8 The brothers rejoined, “So you want to play the sovereign with us? Do you really intend to rule over us?”—and they hated Joseph that much more because of the dream and how he interpreted it.
9 Then Joseph had another dream, which he told to his father and the brothers: “Listen to me, I had a second dream. In this dream the sun, the moon, and eleven stars bowed down to me.”
10 When he told them the dream, Israel scolded him. He said, “What is all this dream business? Are you saying that I, your mother, and the rest of the family will bow down and pay homage to you?” 11 The siblings were jealous, but Israel did not forget the incident.
12 The brothers had gone to tend the herds at Shechem. 13 Israel said to Joseph, “Your brothers are tending to the herds at Shechem. I will send you to them.”
Joseph replied, “I am ready.”
14 Israel told Joseph to see if things were going well and to report back to him. So Joseph set off from the valley of Hebron. 15 When he arrived at Shechem 16 and was wandering in the fields in search for the herds, 17 someone asked, “What are you looking for?”
Joseph answered, “I am looking for my brothers. Can you tell me where they are tending sheep?”
18 The person said, “They have moved on. I heard them say they were going to Dothan.” So Joseph left that place and caught up with the herd at Dothan.  They saw Joseph approaching in the distance, and before he reached them, they plotted to murder the lad. 19 They said to one other, “Here comes that dreamer. 20 Now’s our chance! Let’s kill Joseph and throw his body in one of these pits. We’ll say a wild animal devoured him. Then we’ll see what becomes of Joseph’s dreams!”
21 Reuben intervened and saved the boy from their hands, saying, “No bloodshed! Throwing him into a pit in the wilderness is one thing, but let’s not lay a hand on him.” 22 Reuben’s intention was to rescue Joseph and return him to Israel.
23 So when Joseph came upon his brothers, they stripped him of his robe, the ornamented robe he wore, 24 and picked him up and threw him into a pit. The pit was empty, and there was no water in it.
25 Then they sat down to eat. As they were eating, they noticed an Ishmaelite caravan coming from Gilead, with loads of gum, balm, and resin, on its way down to Egypt. 26 Judah said to the others, “What is to be gained by murdering Joseph and concealing his death? 27 Why not sell Joseph to these Ishmaelites? He is, after all, our flesh and blood, and in that way his blood will not be on our hands.” The others agreed.
28 Meanwhile, some Midianite traders passed by, and pulled Joseph out of the pit. They sold him for eight ounces of silver to the Ishmaelites, who took Joseph with them into Egypt.