September 6, 2020; Genesis 37:2–11, 23–24a, 28; Post 3 ISSL Reflections,NABRE

How did our thought experiment from the other day go?

I know it is overly simplistic to even suggest a 21 point scale (of course that is not counting for fractional or decimal breakdown of the scale) to think about, let alone measure love/hate.

But it might be helpful in beginning to consider the ways the folk in Joseph’s family related to one another and how they acted with one another.

A family is “supposed” to be a place where the individuals “love” one another. There is much more than ideal familial love existing in this family. But maybe that in part makes it such a realistic portrayal of what me might encounter today.

We want to be able to say in our families, congregations and communities we can love each other. And we can. At times. But we can also demonstrate differentiating degrees of affection and love for one another, and even demonstrate emotions that in no way approximate love.

At times we freely share love and at other times it seems love might be “bought” and “sold.”

Joseph’s family shows that.

As we follow the story of Joseph’s family over the next weeks, we probably should pay attention to how one individual can differ from time to time in the way love or lack of love is demonstrated. One day a person is at -4 on our imaginary scale and on another day at +3 or maybe even higher.

The other day I saw in my inbox an email with the subject heading, “How Do I Love Church Members with Different Politics?”

That’s a fair question given our current political climate.

I haven’t read the email yet, so I have no idea if the writer presents a satisfying answer. Still, I think he asks an important question.

How could Joseph ever “love” his brothers who conspire to murder him and then end up selling him into salvery?

Do you think Joseph might ever recognize that his father’s overt displays of love for him, at least in part, are responsible for the brother’s jealousy of Joseph? Or maybe that is not in any way tied to how the brothers feel toward Joseph?

What do you think sows the seeds of love or lack of love in this family?

At this point in our journey with Joseph and his family who would say is the “most loving?”

{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}

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