Even before the events in Charlottesville this weekend, my attention was snagged by the Genesis text , and I can’t let it go.
There’s something powerful and dark about it that is all too easy to let slide when we could let our attention be drawn by this week’s story of Jesus walking on the water or Paul’s beautiful quote, “The word is near you, on your lips and in your heart.”
Genesis 37 is the story of seventeen-year-old Joseph, innocent, naïve, and oblivious to the toxic jealousy he has awakened in his brothers.
He dons his many-colored coat and eagerly sets out to join them with the flocks, unheeding or perhaps unware of how each bright thread reminds his brothers that they are second best.
Their father loves him the most, and they know it.
It’s not Joseph’s fault that Jacob has apparently failed to keep abreast of all the best parenting techniques on whatever passed for the mommy blogs in ancient Israel.
There is a deep history of complex father-son and brother-brother relationships in this family.
Joseph’s father Jacob feuded with his twin brother Esau, jealously conning him out of his birthright.
Joseph’s grandfather, Isaac, was almost murdered by his own father, Abraham, until the Angel of the Lord stayed his hand and provided the ram caught in the thicket for the sacrifice.
Blood means more than heredity in this family.
They seem to dance around shedding one another’s blood in cycles of conflict invested with deep and tangled emotion.
But today it looks like that in this generation, they will finally cross the line and kill one of their own.
“They saw him from a distance, and before he came near to them, they conspired to kill him.” Continue reading