52 Weeks at the Table – Week 9
Israel’s favorite son – dreamer of strange dreams, wearer of colorful robe, nuisance to his brothers – was sold into slavery rather than being murdered by them. So began the connection between Egypt where the slave-traders took Joseph and the people of Israel. Though he served a ruler well, his innocence got him a jail term anyway – served with the chief wine-taster and chief bread-baker to Egypt’s king, Pharaoh. The cupbearer’s dream foretold his head lifted up and restored to his position. The baker’s dream prophesied that his head would be lifted off and his body hung on a tree. Remembered later by the cupbearer for his accuracy in interpreting the dreams, Joseph was called upon to interpret Pharaoh’s dream, one of seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine – for which Pharaoh appointed Joseph to prepare his nation. It was the famine which brought Joseph’s brothers to Egypt for food and a feast with the country’s second-in-command. After the meal, a cup and some grain precipitated the moment he revealed himself to them as the lost brother they betrayed, now king of all Egypt’s resources. He gathered them close, begged them to bring back his father Israel, and told them, “Do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you.” And at last the family of twelve brothers and a loving father was reunited.
It was a meal with a cup and a loaf made from grain at which Jesus revealed to his twelve closest friends that God had sent Him to serve and that they must serve too. His words were the culmination of His prophecies that He would be lifted up. And they would soon see for themselves that meant He would be hung on a tree, and serve as a ransom to save many. Through Him, the family of God would be reunited forever.
Father of Abraham, Isaac and Israel; Father of Jesus the Christ; Father of all You have gathered close into Your family, we praise and glorify You. The bread and the grain it was made from sustain us, during plenty and during famine. The dream You share with us of being reunited around Your table in eternity fills us with hope. Thank You for revealing Yourself to us through Christ, through His servant nature, through this bread which speaks of His sacrifice while hanging on a tree. Amen.
God of twelve brothers; twelve tribes; twelve apostles … we honor You for sending Your Son here as a loving response to our voluntary slavery to sin. Thank You for setting us free from it through His blood. Thank You for this cup which represents it, hidden among our treasures, drawing us back together with You for to save our lives from self; our souls from sin. Help us to leave behind our anger and remorse at our betrayals; help us journey toward Your table in heaven. Lift us up and restore us in Your kingdom. We pray this through the King of all its resources, Jesus: Amen.