posted Monday through Friday
Today’s author is Prince of Peace member, Steve Sveom retired ELCA pastor.
The story of Joseph is a story of courage and integrity. However, the Biblical story is not primarily about the people but about the story of God’s presence and grace. Verse 21 uses the following words about God’s grace to Joseph who was in prison: “But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love.”
As a retired pastor, perhaps the most memorable and best compliment I ever received was when I was about to move from one Church to another call. A young woman in high school said to me “you taught me grace.” Indeed, that is the purpose of the Biblical story – to reveal God’s grace. It is also the purpose of the community of faith – that with each other we experience and learn the grace of God and share it with the world.
The Biblical story teaches us God’s grace – “the Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love.” In the gathering of faith this is the message to us. The Biblical story reveals that God has been present and has shown steadfast love throughout the ages. As a community of faith, we continue to tell our own stories of God’s grace. God continues to be with us now and continues to show us steadfast love. This is grace, even in the face of the obstacles we face. We are embraced by hope in the presence of God who shows us steadfast love.
When was the last time something delighted you and your response was to laugh? I’m not talking about something inherently funny, like a standup comedy routine or video compilation of the “Best Fails of the Year,” but something unexpected that delivered real joy as you experienced it. In times of great elation, to respond in laughter suggests that something else altogether is happening.
During dinner service at my restaurant, I would schedule a host to greet guests and show them to a table. I would generally try to keep one eye on the door and host stand all night long, as the simple function of creating a sense of welcome for our patrons was so critical in setting the stage for the experiences we were hoping to provide. Sometimes, if we didn’t start things off in the right way, there was just no recovering.
There are times when driving west across North or South Dakota when you look out across the horizon and the road you’re traveling on is the only sign of human presence or activity. Often, there are also fence lines among the vast stretches of land that have come under cultivation and the lone farmstead or irrigation system. But, if you squint, it’s hard not to imagine the more primitive landscape that was home to our indigenous brothers and sisters for centuries.
Since late July, we have been sharing our church campus with Valerie. Valerie doesn’t have a stable home but instead lives in an old school bus converted into a camper. The Homeless Liaison with the Roseville Police Department reached out as they were trying to help Valerie find a more appropriate and safer place to park her camper. In getting to know Valerie, hearing more of her story, and as she describes her longings for her future, one word keeps coming up: settled.