April 4 Lent 4
28 Israel had sent Judah ahead to Joseph so that Joseph could explain the way to Goshen. Then they arrived in the land of Goshen. 29 Joseph hitched up his chariot and went to meet his father Israel in Goshen. When he arrived, he threw his arms around his neck and wept, embracing him for a long time. 30 Israel said to Joseph, “I can die now after seeing your face. You are really still alive!”
31 Joseph said to his brothers and to his father’s household, “Let me go up and inform Pharaoh and tell him, ‘My brothers and my father’s household who were in the land of Canaan have arrived. 32 The men are shepherds, because they own livestock. They’ve brought with them their flocks and herds and everything they own.’ 33 When Pharaoh summons you and says, ‘What do you do?’ 34 say, ‘Your servants have owned livestock since we were young, both we and our ancestors,’ so that you will be able to settle in the land of Goshen, since Egyptians think all shepherds are beneath their dignity.”
30 They left that place and passed through Galilee. Jesus did not want anyone to know where they were, 31 because he was teaching his disciples. He said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise.” 32 But they did not understand what he meant and were afraid to ask him about it.
33 They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the road?” 34 But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest.
35 Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.”
36 He took a little child whom he placed among them. Taking the child in his arms, he said to them, 37 “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.”
Comment: in a class of adults I asked what story in scripture drew them into a relationship with God. One answer was this last text, Jesus uninhibited welcome of children. The person felt profoundly welcomed and wanted just as she was.
Arise, O God, and scatter all your enemies! Chase them away! 2 Drive them off like smoke before the wind; melt them like wax in fire! So let the wicked perish at the presence of God.
3 But may the godly man exult. May he rejoice and be merry. 4 Sing praises to the Lord! Raise your voice in song to him who rides upon the clouds! Jehovah is his name—oh, rejoice in his presence. 5 He is a father to the fatherless; he gives justice to the widows, for he is holy. 6 He gives families to the lonely, and releases prisoners from jail, singing with joy! But for rebels there is famine and distress.
7 O God, when you led your people through the wilderness, 8 the earth trembled and the heavens shook. Mount Sinai quailed before you—the God of Israel. 9-10 You sent abundant rain upon your land, O God, to refresh it in its weariness! There your people lived, for you gave them this home when they were destitute.
11-13 The Lord speaks. The enemy flees. The women at home cry out the happy news: “The armies that came to destroy us have fled!” Now all the women of Israel are dividing the booty. See them sparkle with jewels of silver and gold, covered all over as wings cover doves! 14 God scattered their enemies like snowflakes melting in the forests of Zalmon.
15-16 O mighty mountains in Bashan! O splendid many-peaked ranges! Well may you look with envy at Mount Zion, the mount where God has chosen to live forever. 17 Surrounded by unnumbered chariots, the Lord moves on from Mount Sinai and comes to his holy Temple high upon Mount Zion. 18 He ascends the heights, leading many captives in his train. He receives gifts for men, even those who once were rebels. God will live among us here.
Comment: remembering God’s protection, when God delivered us from struggle or distress; remembering God is good is a wonderful disciple of praise. It helps us get through, not around, but through those valleys where the shadows of death loom large.
Prayer: may we be confident in our love you, O God, for you are so faithful to your servants. Amen.