A Glimpse of One Who Reconciles
Genesis 45: 3-11, 15
What glimpses of God have YOU seen during these weeks of Epiphany?
This Epiphany I have glimpsed in the lectionary passages a gathering God who loves, forgives, nourishes, blesses, renews, delights, renames, and restores people and places. And a sending God—sending us out to love, forgive, nourish, bless, renew, delight, rename, and restore. All creation is holy, worthy of care and love, including you and me.
All of this sounds really lovely and poetic until we bump into reality. Someone decides to protest at the edge of our neighbourhood. Someone holds beliefs that offend you. Someone hurts you. Or, like in the case of Joseph, your brothers betray you, throw you down a pit, then sell you into slavery.
When this happens, that high and holy call to tilt the world towards love and away from fear feels trite, because deep inside, you’re in turmoil. There’s a lot of turmoil inside and around these days. Two years into a period of global instability has made it harder to love our neighbour.
In this passage, Joseph’s brothers show up, starving and poor and without power, looking for a handout. They don’t recognize Joseph, so Joseph is in this position of huge power. He can send them away empty-handed, murder them, imprison them, sell them into slavery. He has every opportunity to engage in retaliation and a strong motive for vengeance, yet he turns around and shows them grace, saving the lives of the very brothers who sought to end his, breaking the spiral of violence.
From this collection of families grew the people of Israel that would flourish in Egypt. One day, Moses would lead them out of slavery, and in the wilderness Yahweh would give them the Torah and instructions for the first tabernacle. This one small choice—to tilt his family system away from fear to love—enabled Judaism, and therefore Christianity, to form.
Through the actions, attitudes, and words of Jacob, we glimpse a God who is not prone to revenge, but reconciliation. A God whose desire is not to punish but to preserve. We see this image of God again revealed in Jesus, Joseph’s descendent, as grace, not retribution, becomes the essence of Divine Love.
Grace is an energetic force. It unleashes things in us, between us. Things we never imagined become possible. Think of the person who has offended you. Holding them prayerfully, remember this person has fears, like you. Struggles, like you. Blind spots, like you. A person who is trying their best, but making mistakes, like you. A person who is loved by God, like you.
For a moment, see if you can put your moral indignation to the side, letting that feeling of anger move into the space beside you rather than perched on your heart.
Now, spend time imagining the presence of God filling the space between you. And then filling the space within you. Both of you. Take time with this. Notice what shifts.
As you end your prayer time, I invite you to speak a word of blessing over this space you have created, which now contains you, the other person and God, making both of you recipients of God’s infinite grace: “May the Lord bless us. And keep us. And make his face shine upon us. And be gracious to us. And give us his peace. Amen.”
Deep peace and blessings.
Rev. Anne Baxter Smith
Pastor of the Church at Southpoint
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Even in the Desert
Luke 4: 1-13
Sun. Mar 13 Second Sunday of Lent
Under God’s Wings
Luke 13: 31-35
Sun. Mar 20 Third Sunday of Lent
You Are Worthy
Luke 13: 1-9
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Prodigal Grace (All In service)
Luke 15: 1-3, 11b-32
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Brazen Acts of Beauty
John 12: 1-8
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Even the Stones Cry Out
Luke 19: 28-40
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Luke 24: 1-12
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At Southpoint, it all begins with God’s love. Just as a plant grows, it receives sunshine, so we grow as we receive God’s love. At Southpoint, we are growing in our capacity to love God, ourselves, one another, and creation.
We seek to be a community of grace that is intentional yet organic, spacious yet authentic, grace-filled yet accountable. * We are fully welcoming. *
We encourage relationships rather than run programs, yet we recognize the importance of intentionality and structure as we nurture life together.
As a community, we seek to put our love in action. We value helping out on Sunday mornings, sharing food, and showing up in hard times. We keep our church life simple so folk have time to build relationships with family, friends, and neighbours. We encourage folk to serve in tangible ways within the wider community. We rent space rather than own a building, allowing us to do more with less, supporting missions at home and abroad.
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