Lenten Devotional - March 8
TUESDAY, MARCH 8 2022
The Rev. Brian Wallace ’06
SCRIPTURE: Genesis 37:12-24 - 12 Now his brothers went to pasture their father’s flock near Shechem. 13 And Israel said to Joseph, “Are not your brothers pasturing the flock at Shechem? Come, I will send you to them.” He answered, “Here I am.” 14 So he said to him, “Go now, see if it is well with your brothers and with the flock; and bring word back to me.” So he sent him from the valley of Hebron. He came to Shechem, 15 and a man found him wandering in the fields; the man asked him, “What are you seeking?” 16 “I am seeking my brothers,” he said; “tell me, please, where they are pasturing the flock.” 17 The man said, “They have gone away, for I heard them say, ‘Let us go to Dothan.’” So Joseph went after his brothers, and found them at Dothan. 18 They saw him from a distance, and before he came near to them, they conspired to kill him. 19 They said to one another, “Here comes this dreamer. 20 Come now, let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits; then we shall say that a wild animal has devoured him, and we shall see what will become of his dreams.” 21 But when Reuben heard it, he delivered him out of their hands, saying, “Let us not take his life.” 22 Reuben said to them, “Shed no blood; throw him into this pit here in the wilderness, but lay no hand on him” - that he might rescue him out of their hand and restore him to his father. 23 So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe, the long robe with sleeves that he wore; 24 and they took him and threw him into a pit. The pit was empty; there was no water in it.
DEVOTIONAL Dreams are powerful. Whether actual brain activity during sleep or a more figurative imagining of what could be, dreams can help unlock new God-breathed possibilities in our lives. For Joseph, the dream he had (and shared) was one that threatened much of what his brothers understood as normal in their time and place. And yet, the dream he had would be a critical piece in the fulfillment of God’s covenant promise to the Hebrew people and the world. In many ways, Joseph’s dream was part of a larger dream—a divine dream—to heal the separation between God and the people.
In Lent, we spend time reflecting upon who we are and who God is in preparation for rejoicing in what God did in raising Jesus from the dead. Lent is a time in which we prepare to celebrate the fulfillment of the dream that Joseph carried. In the midst of this Lenten season, is there space for us to dream? To think about God’s call to places we may never have considered because they would threaten our understanding of what is “normal”? Which would push and stretch us into new places and new situations? That at points along the road we might find ourselves at the bottom of a pit, wondering if we got the dream wrong?
PRAYER God, this Lenten season, may we have the courage to dream about what you might have for us on the other side of Good Friday. After all, echoing Tony Campolo’s famous line, even on Friday, Sunday is still coming. Amen.
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew
Jesus said to his disciples:
"In praying, do not babble like the pagans,
who think that they will be heard because of their many words.
Do not be like them.
Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
"This is how you are to pray:
Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name,
thy Kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our dailiy bread;
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
"If you forgive men their transgressions,
your heavenly Father will forgive you.
But if you do not forgive men,
neither will your Father forgive your transgressions."
The Gospel of the Lord.
This most famous of all prayers is rather a formula for prayer. Its movements include acknowledgment and praise of God as creator, hope for the kingdom, affirmation of the importance of life on earth, petition for our needs, and requests for forgiveness of sin and protection from evil. This passage concludes with a sobering reminder that our experience of God's forgiveness is contingent on our own willingness to forgive.
Spend a few moments with each line of the Lord's Prayer, adding your own prayers to each verse. When you ask for your daily bread and for forgiveness of your sins, be specific in your requests.
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