Paul talks about the “remnant.” Meaning a small group of believers who keep the faith pure against so much ungodliness in the world. After the community of believers had been so thoroughly corrupted by the world, Paul identified that little tiny church in Rome, probably no larger than 10 or 12 believers, as the remnant who will keep the faith alive, a tiny light in the vast darkness of the world, a candle glowing in the night, a drop of clean, undiluted godliness in a poisoned planet.
But I wonder what Paul would have said about today’s first reading from Genesis. In this story, known as the “Joseph saga” (Most of you know it better as “Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”) the line between the world and God’s people mists over to the point of being indistinguishable. This story seems to suggest that God isn’t limited to those who claim to be God’s people. God seems freer than what we might initially perceive.
On the surface this looks like a story of hard work paying off, with a little forgiveness and reconciliation thrown in to jerk a few theological tears. The stuff of good movies and snappy musicals.
Joseph was the guy you hated in High School. You know the one I mean. The Golden Boy, the Favoured One, who seemed good at everything. He was captain of the football team and he dated the head cheerleader. He won math awards, wrote for the school newspaper, played Hamlet in community theatre, sang solos at Christmas, volunteered in a homeless shelter, and couldn’t decide whether he’d be a brain surgeon or rocket scientist when he grew up, so he thought he’d be both. And you just knew he could pull it off.
You couldn’t stand him. Not just because he was better at everything than you were. You didn’t like him because he liked himself so much. His arrogance was breathtaking.
And he enjoyed showing off. His Emotional I.Q. hovered in George Bush realms.
He was oblivious to his brothers’ scowls. He didn’t notice their clenched jaws and furrowed brows. He simply didn’t see how badly his arrogance made his brothers want to tear out their ear hair.
It’s no wonder that his brothers wanted to get rid of him. He made them look bad. Really bad. And he flashed his egotistical white teeth while doing so.
You couldn’t accuse Joseph of putting on a show. He knew himself. He knew he was talented. He knew that he could succeed at anything he put his mind to.
Even his dreams stroked his ego. He was a dreamer. Some said it was God’s dreams that lived inside him. Others believed he simply dreamt what he wanted his life to be.
Maybe it was both.
But Joseph also knew...(whole thing here)