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Meditation on Genesis 45

August 20, 2020

Pastor Carrie Evans

The Topography of Tears

The link is to an article titled “The Topography of Tears.”  I invite you to look at these amazing photographs seen through an optical microscope.  They are a way of seeing ourselves through a different lens, but they also have a way of speaking into our humanness.

Tears tell a story. 






Much like in the Harry Potter movies, tears are collected and then poured into the Dumbledore’s Pensieve and showed the deep secrets and stories of the grieving one… so our tears tell our story.

Last Sunday we studied the 45th chapter of the book of Genesis where Joseph is reunited with his brothers.  The passage is full of theology of God’s providence, grace, forgiveness, and family.  It is so full of potential that I couldn’t begin to grasp its’ magnitude in one sermon.  So, I share some alternative thoughts with you here.

We pick up in the story of Joseph when he is serving in Pharaoh’s house as overseer when his brothers are returned to him.  Joseph, upon seeing his brothers, sent the Egyptian court away so that he could be alone with them. Once everyone was gone, we read that he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard it not only all of Egypt, but scripture tells us that Pharaoh’s household heard his wailing.

Tears that tell a story… What have you wept for lately, from your very heart?



Tears for those who yearn for liberation

The prophet Micah in chapter 6 tells us:

What does the Lord require of you? To do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with your God.

Such injustices are all around us, yet we often turn the other way. The mere magnitude of finding answers, making a small dent in society’s ills forces us back into out private worlds of safety.  Other options seem so much easier – revenge, anger and resentment top the list. 

But Joseph did not cry tears of revenge, anger or resentment.

Joseph stood before his brothers, and for the years he spent in prison due to their actions, the years wasted apart from his family, I would imagine he would cry tears of what should have been, what could have been.  And those tears would be ones I still cry today.

Tears for that which cannot be fixed

We can’t fix our nation’s sordid past of slavery… these are tears for what cannot be fixed.

We can’t remedy the betrayal of Joseph’s brothers, or the betrayal from a loved one.

And these tears are real and present when we have no control and have no answers.  The people of God cry these tears when we open our eyes and see the broken world around us.  Yet, as the people of God we must also recognize within that world, God’s providence.



Tears of Possibility and Hope

God’s providence, God’s hope for God’s own people – you and me, those tears are poured out each and every day when God’s people work together towards the Kingdom.  Knowing that we may never see it in its’ completion on this planet, the day when…

The hungry will be filled with good food

When the stranger is welcomed home

When the unjustly imprisoned will go free

When those who mourn will be comforted

And when we live into Galatians 3:28:

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female,

for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Together we still cry those tears when that glimmer of hope and possibility breaks forth as when black and white march together, when a community of faith gathers to comfort the broken hearted and when one who once was lost is now found.


Tears of Grief

Jesus, upon the death of His friend Lazarus, and seeing Mary weep, “He groaned in the spirit, and was troubled.” (John 11:33)

For the Jesus, mere words could not describe the grief He was experiencing in that moment of loss. Let the irony, transparency, and humanity of that moment sink in; the ONE whom John said was THE WORD (John 1:14), had no words. He wept. He groaned. He was troubled.

These are the tears of Jacob and Rachel and parents who have lost a child. The tears of those who have loved and lost one who was their very breath and life.

To weep in such a way is most times, to much than we can bear… the grief too heavy. 

And other times, the tears come in a form of release, a blessing and a forgiveness. And here we find Joseph’s tears- often unexpected moments of grace that catch us by surprise.


Tears of Reunion

Is there any hope for these tears in your life? 

Reunion in our nation?

Reunion in our relationships?

These are the tears we seek as individuals and as the people of God, yet we aren’t looking in the right places.  Because these tears are found in the grace of forgiveness, the tears that Joseph found and brought him to his knees before his brother – unashamed, weeping uncontrollably and wrapping his arms around those that betrayed him in an act of love we cannot understand.

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