Lent 4 March 31
Genesis 44:18-34- One of my favorite passages in scripture
18 Judah approached him and said, “Please, my master, allow your servant to say something to my master without getting angry with your servant since you are like Pharaoh himself. 19 My master asked his servants, ‘Do you have a father or brother?’ 20 And we said to my master, ‘Yes, we have an elderly father and a young brother, born when he was old. His brother is dead and he’s his mother’s only child. But his father loves him.’ 21 You told your servants, ‘Bring him down to me so I can see him.’ 22 And we said to my master, ‘The young man can’t leave his father. If he leaves, his father will die.’ 23 You said to your servants, ‘If your youngest brother doesn’t come down with you, you’ll never see my face again.’
24 “When we went back to my father your servant, we told him what you said. 25 Our father told us, ‘Go back and buy for us a little food.’ 26 But we said, ‘We can’t go down. We will go down only if our youngest brother is with us. We won’t be able to gain an audience with the man without our youngest brother with us.’ 27 Your servant my father said to us, ‘You know that my wife gave birth to two sons for me. 28 One disappeared and I said, “He must have been torn up by a wild animal,” and I haven’t seen him since. 29 And if you take this one from me too, something terrible will happen to him, and you will send me—old as I am—to my grave in despair.’ 30 When I now go back to your servant my father without the young man—whose life is so bound up with his— 31 and when he sees that the young man isn’t with us, he will die, and your servants will have sent our father your servant—old as he is—to his grave in grief. 32 I, your servant, guaranteed the young man’s safety to my father, telling him, ‘If I don’t bring him back to you, it will be my fault forever.’ 33 Now, please let your servant stay as your slave instead of the young man so that he can go back with his brothers. 34 How can I go back to my father without the young man? I couldn’t bear to see how badly my father would be hurt.”
Comment: Judah offers to substitute his life for his young brother’s life, on behalf of his father who has suffered too much (by Judah’s own hand.) If Joseph has any reservations about the deep regret his brothers felt over their past infidelity to him, his worries are put to rest.
Mark 8:22-29 True Confessions
22 When they arrived at Bethsaida, some people brought a blind man to him and begged him to touch and heal him. 23 Jesus took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village, and spat upon his eyes, and laid his hands over them.
“Can you see anything now?” Jesus asked him. 24 The man looked around. “Yes!” he said, “I see men! But I can’t see them very clearly; they look like tree trunks walking around!”
25 Then Jesus placed his hands over the man’s eyes again and as the man stared intently, his sight was completely restored, and he saw everything clearly, drinking in the sights around him. 26 Jesus sent him home to his family. “Don’t even go back to the village first,” he said.
27 Jesus and his disciples now left Galilee and went out to the villages of Caesarea Philippi. As they were walking along he asked them, “Who do the people think I am? What are they saying about me?” 28 “Some of them think you are John the Baptist,” the disciples replied, “and others say you are Elijah or some other ancient prophet come back to life again.” 29 Then he asked, “Who do you think I am?” Peter replied, “You are the Messiah.” 30 But Jesus warned them not to tell anyone!
1-2 Silence is praise to you,
And also obedience.
You hear the prayer in it all.
2-8 We all arrive at your doorstep sooner
or later, loaded with guilt,
Our sins too much for us—
but you get rid of them once and for all.
Blessed are the chosen! Blessed the guest
at home in your place!
We expect our fill of good things
in your house, your heavenly manse.
All your salvation wonders
are on display in your trophy room.
Muzzler of sea storm and wave crash,
of mobs in noisy riot—
Far and wide they’ll come to a stop,
they’ll stare in awe, in wonder.
Dawn and dusk take turns
calling, “Come and worship.”
9-13 Oh, visit the earth,
ask her to join the dance!
Deck her out in spring showers,
fill the God-River with living water.
Paint the wheat fields golden.
Creation was made for this!
Drench the plowed fields,
soak the dirt clods
With rainfall as harrow and rake
bring her to blossom and fruit.
Snow-crown the peaks with splendor,
scatter rose petals down your paths,
All through the wild meadows, rose petals.
Set the hills to dancing,
Dress the canyon walls with live sheep,
a drape of flax across the valleys.
Let them shout, and shout, and shout!
Oh, oh, let them sing!
Prayer: praise God from whom all blessings flow! Amen.