New Position, and Joseph's Powerful Lesson on Forgiveness

Happy summer! I'm excited to announce that I've accepted a new position as Parish Associate! Being a Parish Associate allows me to join a church as a Presbyterian minister and exercise my gifts within the congregation. Having previously served another church in that role, my family and I will now be a part of Central Presbyterian Church. It's a wonderful opportunity that I look forward to sharing with you!

This past week, I helped out for a morning at our preschool Vacation Bible School. The children were learning the story of Joseph in the Bible (which starts at Genesis 37). If you ask any child who attended, their favorite thing about VBS wasn't the snack, games, or adorable songs - it was seeing Joseph in action! One day they visited him in jail, and the next they journeyed to the palace. 

Joseph striking an Egyptian pose

As I sat hearing Joseph's story (after playing a palace donkey that is - clearly, I didn't know what I had signed up for!), I was struck by Joseph's discussion of forgiveness. He talked about being in a position to help his starving family, a family who had sold him into slavery out of jealousy many years before. Rather than holding a grudge, he relished this moment that his family could be reunited. 

To the children, this was a fun story with an uplifting finish - it ended in a palace that was filled with abundance, celebration, and forgiveness. But as an adult listening, I heard the story on a different level. Why is it that family can sometimes be the most rewarding but also the most challenging part of our lives? And why does God's definition of restoration sometimes have to be so messy?

No doubt Joseph was aware that he had grown at the hand of God even through difficulty. After all, he had been sold into slavery and later thrown into jail after being falsely accused. But no doubt Joseph realized that his true freedom didn't come when he was released from jail and triumphantly elevated to the role of palace official; it came later when he forgave.

I have an inkling that God wants to take each of us into the palace too. Forgiving any lingering pain is the first step toward our own abundance and new beginning. The power of the Christian message is this provision as God leads us out of whatever has enchained us. I can think of no better time than the summer to consider this principle - as the sun is shining, may the power of forgiveness warm us from the inside out!


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