“Inspire Imagination: Pray” by The Rev. Stephanie Kendell

October 1st,2020 Categories: Stephanie Kendell Letters, Weekly Letter

Beloved Church,

This week I am in a space of intentional prayer for our church and its members. It is a holy time that I take to realign my heart and spirit with the call that God has placed on me in this season of life. It is challenging and reflective work, that I am humbled to do with and for you. But in that spirit, and with the new Inspire theme of courage, I invite you into a time of prayer as you read this week’s scripture lesson. Because make no mistake, prayer takes courage. It takes courage to talk to God and to open yourself to what might be shared in return. So, this week, let’s keep it simple. Let’s pray. And part of that prayer is praying though scripture.

Start by reading through our text once and pray that you are open to God’s message. Read it again and pray for others to hear our still speaking God. Read it a third time and pray for those that see themselves as the dreamer, the parent, or the fearful in this story. Pray that all hearers of this story, regardless of where they see themselves in it, know that they are God’s beloved. Friends, read and pray and then pray some more. Take a breath. Start again. Prayer is a muscle that needs to be exercised often. So, I hope to see you all this Sunday for our time of worship. In the meantime, I’ll be praying for you.

Then Jacob took up residence in the place where Isaac had settled, the land of Canaan.

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.

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.

When the brothers saw that Israel loved him best, they were jealous and had nothing but words of contempt for the boy.

The brothers had gone to tend the herds at Shechem.  Israel said to Joseph, “Your brothers are tending to the herds at Shechem. I will send you to them.” Joseph replied, “I am ready.”

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. When he arrived at Shechem and was wandering in the fields in search for the herds, someone asked, “What are you looking for?”

Joseph answered, “I am looking for my brothers. Can you tell me where they are tending sheep?”

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. They said to one other, “Here comes that dreamer. 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!”

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.” Reuben’s intention was to rescue Joseph and return him to Israel.

So, when Joseph came upon his brothers, they stripped him of his robe, the ornamented robe he wore, and picked him up and threw him into a pit. The pit was empty, and there was no water in it.

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? 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.

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. (Genesis 37:1-4, 12-28 )

Shalom Y’all,
Rev. Stephanie

A quick prayer for your week: O Lord, I pray for your people. Amen