FINDING THE GOOD

On readings for February 20, 2022

7th Sunday after Epiphany, Year C

Opening Prayer

Beauty Giver

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

This we’ve heard from wise ones in the past.

You have given us perceptive eyes and ears

To discover what charms and gladdens us.

Everywhere beauty awaits our contemplation

In nature, music, art, word, drama, dance,

In human landscapes of body, mind, and soul.

To behold and receive these inspiring treasures

All we need do is awaken our dulled awareness

And bring a nonjudgmental openness of mind.

Today:  With a grateful heart I find and receive beauty.

Joyce Rupp, Fragments of Your Ancient Name, February 16

Opening question for sharing

When has something “bad” turned to good for you?  When did a loss, or a failure, or mistreatment from others eventually turn to good for you?  Share only what you are comfortable talking about.

Genesis 45: 3-11, 15

Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph.  Is my father still alive?”  But his brothers could not answer him, so dismayed were they at his presence.  Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come closer to me.”  And they came closer. 

He said, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt.  And now do not be distressed, or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life.  For the famine has been in the land these two years; and there are five more years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest.  God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors.  So it was not you who sent me here, but God; he has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt.

   Hurry and go up to my father and say to him. ‘Thus says your son Joseph, God has made me lord of all Egypt; come down to me, do not delay.  You shall settle in the land of Goshen, and you shall be near me, you and your children and your children’s children, as well as your flocks, you herds, and all that you have.  I will provide for you there – since there are five more years of famine to come – so that you and your household, and all that you have, will not come to poverty.’ 

And he kissed all his brothers and wept upon them; and after that his brothers talked with him.

Guided meditation

          Use the relaxation talk to relax from your toes up to your head, breathing in God’s light, comforting darkness, love, strength and healing power three times.

          Put yourself into the scene where Joseph tells his brothers his true identity.  Use all five senses in imagination. You might be a participant or yourself as an observer.

  • Imagine the throne room or courtyard where the conversation is taking place.  How grand is this place?  What decorations are visible?  What robes is Joseph wearing?  What do his brothers wear?  What are the expressions on his brothers’ faces?  What does Joseph show of his own emotions?
  • Listen to Joseph’s woods.  Hear the silence, the frightened silence of his brothers.  What other sounds are in the room?
  • Is there incense burning in this room?  Can you smell the ‘shepherd smell’ of Joseph’s brothers, or the smell of fear?
  • Can you ‘taste’ the tension in the room, since the brothers are brought back having been found with stolen goods (planted by Joseph)?
  • Can you feel the tension in the room?  Can you feel it dissipate as Joseph continues to speak?  Is the air stirred by fans of throne attendants?  Is it hot or cool?

Now, feel the emotions as Joseph kisses his brothers, and they finally are brave enough to speak with him.  What feelings wash over you?

At the end of this scene, have a conversation with any comforting God-image you can imagine – Mother/Father God, Comforting Holy Spirit, Jesus as friend.  Speak from your heart about a time when you felt mistreated by others or another.  Has anything good come from that bad time?  Perhaps not.  In that case, ask your God-image for the grace to heal from the experience and perhaps makes some sense of it at a later time.  If you can think of something good, imagine what possibilities, or new awareness, or spiritual growth came from that time of stress, sorrow, or pain.  Take time to listen to God tell you more about your dark times, and how God can bring light to them.  Be very gentle with yourself as you reach to find forgiveness in yourself for these others who harmed you.  Ask for grace to find the good in future events, beauty in difficulties and grief.

Share whatever you are comfortable talking about with others in your group.

Related readings

When you finally learn that a person’s behavior

has more to do with their own internal struggle

than it ever did with you… . you learn grace.

Anonymous Face Book post

IT ACTS LIKE LOVE

It acts like love – music,

It reaches toward the face, touches it, and tries to let you know

His promise: that all will be okay.

It acts like love – music, and

tells the feet, “You do not have to be so burdened.”

My body is covered with wounds

this world made,

but I still longed to kiss Him, even when God said,

“Could you also kiss the hand that caused

each scar,

For you will not find me until

you do.”

It does that – music – helps us

to forgive.

Rabia, Love Poems From God,

Ladinsky, ed.

IN HIS SANITY

If all the tenderness in this world could reflect

from my eyes, would you accept

that love?

If all

the forgiveness

the heavens have known could be offered

from one

face,

would you accept that

divine pardon?

In His sublime sanity –

every moment God offers

that to

us:

anything that might

comfort.

St. Francis of Assisi,

Love Poems From God, Ladinsky, ed.

THE FOUNDATION OF GOD

My perfect Lord sang,

“Less likely is God to condemn my hand’s action

than condemn any

soul.”

How could that be possible,

my heart thought?

And the Christ, knowing all minds, replied,

“Forgiveness is the foundation of God’s

being.”

St. Catherine of Siena,

Love Poems From God, Ladinsky, ed.

Closing prayer

Within its translucent beauty,

Surrounding us in its mystery,

Curving back upon itself with promise

Empowering us with its faithfulness,

Bringing peace, hope, healing,

Is God’s love.

Thus, life’s sojourn can be walked

Without weariness,

Lived without fearfulness,

And celebrated in joyousness.

Love, God’s love.

Rev. Dr. Raymond E. (Bud) Hearn,   

        Reaching Toward Infinite Light, p. 51

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