9 Jul 2015
From a Christian perspective, we usually think of ancient Egypt as “the land of slavery,” a place of sin, a place where the goodness of God is absent. And, sometimes, we can get that impression about our own time and place. As much as we are a free people here in the U.S., and as much as there are many free people in the world, there’s still a lot of “slavery to sin.” It can be hard sometimes to see the goodness of God around us or even within us.
But into the darkness of ancient Egypt God sent Joseph. It was a roundabout sort of way getting in there—being sold into slavery by his brothers. Nonetheless, as Joseph himself realizes, it was ultimately God who sent him there. And in a similar way, I suppose—by the sin of Adam and Eve—we were sent by God into this world, which is sometimes a dark and cruel place.
But after awhile, Joseph became a light in the land of Egypt. He brought God’s goodness to whatever he did, and he was patient in whatever injustice was leveled at him. And, especially, he brought divine mercy and forgiveness into Egypt; we see in how he dealt with his brothers. He could have been vengeful, but he wasn’t—and the family of Joseph was reunited.
In just the same way, we are here in this world not to fall under its weight, but to be a light of God’s goodness in it. We try to “cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers and drive out demons.” When others are unkind to us, we try to love them in return. When others are unjust and unwelcoming, we say those words of Jesus from the Cross: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And wherever there are blessings, we get on our knees and thank God for them.
We’re in the world we live in because God needs us to be here—not so much to suffer (although, that happens), but to bring his goodness and light where there is sin and darkness.