Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2016: Day Six, “Listen to this Dream”

Jan 23rd, 2016 | By | Category: Blog Posts

Now Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers they only hated him the more. He said to them, “Hear this dream which I have dreamed: behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and lo, my sheaf arose and stood upright; and behold, your sheaves gathered round it, and bowed down to my sheaf.” His brothers said to him, “Are you indeed to reign over us? Or are you indeed to have dominion over us?” So they hated him yet more for his dreams and for his words. (Genesis 37:5-8, RSV.)

Joseph dreams

This biblical text is familiar to us. Joseph’s brothers, learning of his dream, become angry at the message from God. The message itself, that they may have to bow down to the younger Joseph, drives them to betray their brother and lie to their father. But years later they are humbled and driven to Egypt by their own inabilities to overcome the hunger of famine. Instead of revenge, Joseph shares with them a poetic moment of reconciliation.

Then he fell upon his brother Benjamin’s neck and wept; and Benjamin wept upon his neck. And he kissed all his brothers and wept upon them; and after that his brothers talked with him. (Genesis 45:14-15, RSV.)

The resources for this day of the week of prayer for Christian unity, prepared by a Pontifical Council and a commission of the World Council of Churches, provides an excellent reflection on this text in the context of Christian unity.

“Jesus, like Joseph, unfolds to us a vision, a message about the life of his Father’s kingdom. It is a vision of unity. But like Joseph’s brothers, we are often upset, angered and fearful of the vision and what it seems to imply. It demands that we submit and bow to the will of God. We fear it because we fear what we might lose. But the vision is not about loss. Rather, it is about regaining brothers and sisters we had lost, the reuniting of a family.”

Lord Jesus, may the famine of our broken family give us the desperate need to bow down in humble submission to Your will. Please bring your separated children together in unity, one body, one bread. Amen.


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