Once Joseph had a dream
Is God relevant to a social situation in which human control seems established and sufficient? This is the question that Walter Brueggemann suggests lies behind the writing of the Joseph stories. He suggests following another Old Testament scholar, Von Rad, that the Joseph stories were written around the 10th Cent BCE, during Solomon’s reign over Israel. This was a time when Israel was particularly powerful and prosperous. Israel was no longer as vulnerable to other national powers. So they seemed to be in control of their future due to the military and economic power centered in Jerusalem and King Solomon. It is a story told time and again. The story of Babel tower is the story of human pride in its own technological achievement. Is God still relevant? It was an experience warned against in Deut 6;..When the Lord your God has brought you into the land...a land with fine, large cities that you did not build, 11houses filled with all sorts of goods that you did not fill, hewn cisterns that you did not hew, vineyards and olive groves that you did not plant—and when you have eaten your fill, 12take care that you do not forget the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. What does ‘relevant’ even mean? We have God’s name on our money. Is that proof that God is relevant? We mention God in the pledge of allegiance. Is that proof of God’s relevance? Over 90% of American’s express belief in God. (84% of Americans between 18-29 years of age express belief in God.) Does that suggest that God is relevant, or even loosing relevance? Are there other indicators of God’s relevance? Jesus commanded us to pray for our enemies. Do we act as if that were relevant? Jesus said to give to all who ask. Do we treat that as relevant? To forgive as generously as we would like to be forgiven. Relevant? The story of Joseph challenges us to allow God’s relevance to grow deeper than the shallow ‘belief’ that so many express, the simple God-talk on our dollar bills, and hour of devotion on Sunday morning. Would the casual observer note the relvance of God in not just your thoughts and emotions, but in your commitments and convictions?