Genesis 41.46-57; Psalm 56-58;Mark 3.7-19a. This was for the Monday following the 2nd Sunday in Lent.
Since the beginning of the season of Epiphany, our Old Testament lessons appointed for Morning Prayer have been a re-telling of the covenant story of the chosen people of Israel in Genesis.
With the exception of the two-weeks prior to Lent when our Old Testament lessons were from the Book of Proverbs, we have walked with:
Adam and Eve
Noah and his family
Abraham and Sarah
Jacob and Esau
And now we have retraced the footsteps of Joseph over the past week – the First Week in Lent.
The story of Joseph, his Amazing Technicolor Dream coat and the trouble it got him in, is no doubt familiar to all of us here, but is one that we love to hear again and again.
It’s the feel good story of when bad things happen to good people, but everything gets resolved in the end then things end up working out well for them.
It’s also a story with some incredible parallels to our Gospel lesson that we heard from St. Mark.
In this lesson, Joseph is 30 years old when he enters the service of Pharoah, and Jesus is 30 years old when he begins his earthly ministry.
Great multitudes flocked to Joseph in Egypt because of what he could offer them.
Those same great multitudes from Galilee and Judea and Jerusalem and Idumea, beyond Jordan and Tyre and Sidon, now a few centuries later, flocked to Jesus because of what he was offering them.
When the people of Egypt began to cry out to Pharoah for help, he told them to go to Joseph and do whatever he commanded them.
When we cry out to God for help, we are commanded to listen to Him and do what He wishes for us to do.
The story says that the whole world went to Joseph for food because the famine covered the whole world.
We go to Jesus, because he is the Bread of Life. Whoever feeds upon him will be satisfied and will hunger no more.
Earlier in our story from Genesis, Joseph suffered mortal opposition by his brothers because of who he was.
Jesus would later suffer mortal opposition, pain and death because of who he was and what he proclaimed.
Our Gospel lesson gives the account from Mark of the calling of the 12.
I was intrigued by a nuance that is peculiar to Mark alone.
“And he went up on the mountain, and called to him those whom he desired; and they came to him. And he appointed twelve, to be with him, and to be sent out to preach and have authority to cast out demons:”
I found two particulars that I honed in on: the fact that Jesus called those whom he desired, and they came to him; and that these twelve were going to be with him, and were going to be sent out from him.
Jesus desired a particular group of men to serve a special function in his ministry. He chose them for whatever reason.
We can’t find any reason why he picked these particular people, because they were ordinary folk just like you and me.
However, all we can go on is the fact that he did call them, and they completed the deal.
THEY WENT WITH HIM!
Mark’s account clearly indicates that the 12 had to fulfill their end of the bargain too.
These 12 were being called for 2 purposes: to be close to Jesus, and then to be sent from him.
That is the same call that you and I have as Christians.
We are called to be close to Jesus in all that we do.
We are to:
Pray to him
Talk to him
Read about him
Love like him
Suffer like him
BE LIKE HIM
We are then sent forth from him just as the apostles were.
We are called to live a life that looks like we were sent from him.
We are sent forth to live a life that confirms that we are sinful broken creatures who owe absolutely everything to the redeeming love of the cross.
That is truly a life worth living.
A life which allows us to fall humbly upon our knees before our God and Father and beg His forgiveness.
The Easter joy that is in this life is that Christ is there to help us rise from our knees, and know that our forgiveness is secured.
As we continue throughout our Lenten journey, may we never forget that life is lived within the balance of these two images.
We can’t live completely in the first because we have a message for the world to hear, and we must rise from our knees to be able to tell it.
However, we can’t jump up too quickly,
For it is in this humble state that we hear the joy of the message again, and again and again.
Jesus has called us to himself.
He desires us.
We must go to him!
And allow him to transform us, and send us out to be the servants he calls us to be!