A message for the week starting on Sunday 20 February 2022
Lectionary Week: 7th Sunday of the Epiphany
Prescribed Texts: Genesis 45:3-15, Psalm 37:1-11, 1 Corinthians 15:35-38, Luke 6:27-38
Bigger Than Our Circumstances
Focus Text: Genesis 45: 3-15
Joseph identified himself by saying: I am Joseph, your brother. The very same Joseph that was almost killed by his brothers, but then sold into slavery. He was accused of sexual misconduct and landed up in prison for a crime he did not commit. Yet no matter the extent of his calamity, he remained true to himself. By now most of us would have given up on life, fallen into depression and become destructive towards ourselves and others. We lose ourselves because events seem to spin out of control due to a perceived loss of power in our lives.
Yet his response was: I am Joseph. This response of self-identity was one that wasn’t lost, in spite of the grave situation. This reminds me of the case of Amy Biehl, the American anti-Apartheid activist who was murdered by young revolutionaries in the Western Cape, South Africa. Her parents could have shown bitterness, but instead, they came to the country and continued activism work in her name.
When we retain self-respect and our dignity, no matter what life throws at us, we will come out victorious:
I am Joseph, that’s who I am,
my circumstances do not define me,
nor do I allow it to dictate to me who I am.
I am Joseph.
I am Joseph, the dreamer
though it upsets those who dare not envision a tomorrow,
who make emotional decisions, of death and deceit
but I, I am Joseph
I am Joseph
I serve with dignity
not even prison can bind my identity
to kings, I serve as advisory
To my betrayers, I become their rescuer
what was meant for my calamity,
God used as stepping stones into my destiny
I am Joseph
To think about: We have gone through pain and death with COVID-19, and faced many other challenges through divorce and job losses. Whatever it might be, do not allow it to change who you are.
Written by: Rev. Clive Swartz, trained Churches Channels of Hope (CCoH) facilitator, former CABSA programme co-ordinator