Now, don’t be upset and don’t be angry with yourselves that you sold me here. Actually, God sent me before you to save lives. (Genesis 45:5 CEB)
On Holy Tuesday we hosted a labyrinth walk in our hall. I look forward to walking the labyrinth whenever I have an opportunity. A labyrinth looks like a maze, except there are no traps. You simply follow the circuitous path to the centre, and then out again.
Now, this particular labyrinth pattern always gets me lost. I end up stepping over lines by accident. But this year, I made it to the centre and out again.
Usually, I begin the labyrinth with a particular intention, then begin to walk, emptying my mind, seeking clarity and the guidance of the Spirit to offer me a word or assurance. This week, I didn’t have a particular intention. There were so many possibilities. So, I began to walk, hoping the intention would come to me.
My life has been pulled in a lot of directions lately. As I walked, and my thoughts were scattered, I focussed on my walking, one foot in front of the other. I started to be faithful to the moment and to the path I was walking. I realised that my vocation as a Christian is not to have all the right answers, or to take care of everyone, or even be the best priest and youth minister ever. I am called to be faithful, faithful to the commandments of God, and that I have a lot of preconceived notions of what that looks like.
Some paths of the labyrinth are long, going around the circumference, and some are short, just two or three steps before you turn around and walk the other way (the parts of the labyrinth where we turn around are called switchbacks). The metaphors of ministry and Christian life are most often focussed on the long road, emphasising commitment and endurance. Within our long path, there are lots of short paths, too. Some friendships will not last until death, for example. They are part of the path, but were perhaps never meant to last, but to be one part of the journey for a time.
We presume after years of space and healing, Joseph was able to gain some wisdom as well as peace. He can look to his brothers and see their violence as one part of his journey, a short part, and a critical one. He can place his past and the future of his family in the hands of a faithful God.
We can not know what God is creating out of our present moment. The Author has a whole universe of pages to fill. There is room, and time, for switchbacks.
Day 15: Genesis 45:1-46:7
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