Grace Episcopal Church



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Proper 14a 2014
10  Aug.
Gen.37:1-4, 12-28; Ps. 105:1-6, 16-22, 45b
Rom. 10:5-15; Matt. 14:22-33
Jack Hardaway

All families are dysfunctional.
Especially God’s family.
I have always found comfort and encouragement in this biblical truth.

Today and next Sunday we hear some of the story of Joseph, the dreamer, his family, his angry brothers and the beginnings of God bringing good news to a world full of bad news.
This story is ultimately about the dream of God and those who would kill the dream, and the surprise that God’s dream persists and redeems despite everything.

Joseph was a spoiled child, a favored child and a tattle tale.  He also was gifted by powerful dreams of divine import, giving glimpses into the future, not so much predicting the future as seeing that the future belongs to God and that God can be trusted.

Joseph was part of a large and eccentric family.  His father, Jacob, was a scoundrel, cheating his slow witted brother, Esau, out of everything. He out-cheated his cheating father in law.
Jacob even wrestled with God, and walked with a limp ever since then.  He never knew when to quit.  
Joseph’s many brothers were much older and very jealous of the favoritism showed toward Joseph and angry with how Joseph treated them. 
They ambushed him and sold him into slavery- to their second cousins of all people, the children of great uncle Ishmael.  Get the crazy cousins to do the dirty work!
The brothers then lied to their father saying that Joseph had been slain and torn to pieces by a wild animal.  We see Biblical Family Values at work.
So the dream supposedly died with the dreamer.

But the dream persists and redeems despite all else.  Joseph ends up in Egypt and saves the world including his family from famine.  They thought they killed the dreamer but instead they made the dream come true.  Salvation is full of irony.

Dreams have historically enduring interest.   How we have thought of dreams over the millennia has changed again and again, but interest, even infatuation with dreams has persisted.

Dreams are a mysterious part of our lives that defy definition and understanding. 
Dreams are beyond our control, they intrude when we are most vulnerable, and they elude us when we grasp at them. 
They have the aura of the holy-of exposing us-of disturbing perception-from which we can hide nothing-from whom no secrets are hid.

Sometimes dreams are the only place left where God can be heard.  The rest of our lives can become so closed off, so well defended, that God can no longer be seen or heard, no longer believed in or hoped for.  Dreams then become the only opening left for God to be known, the only way that life can slip back into the valley of the shadow of death.

Some of us long for the mystery of dreams, searching for enchantment to fill a dreary emptiness.  Some of us search and chase dreams hoping for clarity, for a way forward, in the turmoil of existence. 
Some of us simply forget them.
Some of us run away. 
Some of us lash out and destroy.

The dream persists.  With irony it redeems all those who forget, who run, who try to destroy it.
Even Joseph’s family in the end are saved by God’s dream-even though they ambushed, enslaved, lied and connived its demise-they too are given a future by this dream that filled their spoiled brother.

What is this dream?
It carries all of us.  It proclaims the future that belongs to God, that God can be trusted.
The cross tries to destroy the dream, but it makes the dream come true.  Salvation is full of irony.

All families are dysfunctional.
Especially God’s family. 
Especially Joseph’s family- and they end up saving the world.  Go figure.
I find great comfort and encouragement in this biblical truth.
No matter what-the dream persists and redeems.

Sermon Archives

(These are Microsoft Word documents)
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