For many of us, we think of Jesus’ grace as something that wipes our ledger clean, something that gets us a pass into heaven. That’s true, but Jesus’ grace is so much more than that. It is a grace that claims our whole lives. It is a grace that makes us into new and more holy people. It is a grace that makes us work for justice and freedom, care about oppression and lift up those who have been hurt.
We are called to be ordinary, everyday heroes, who refuse to conform when faced with evil. You may wonder, “Who am I to do such a thing?” I’m no Moses or David, no prophet or king.
The story of Joseph reminds us that we serve a God of grace and transformation. We serve a God who knows there is pain and evil in the world, but is working to bring healing and wholeness and love back into it. And God wants us to be a part of it too. God’s grace is powerful enough that even our worst enemies may one day be again our brothers and sisters.
And as much as Joseph’s story is a story of family, it is also the story of our world. It is the story of how we have treated people whenever we have stopped seeing them as human beings, when we have not viewed them as brothers and sisters worth our protection, love, and safety.
From the very beginning God did not want us to be alone. God wanted us to know romance. God wanted us to know friendship. God wanted us to know love and play and fellowship with one another. God wanted us to know community.
Jesus came into this world knowing the horrors of it, knowing its pain and trouble. Jesus did this, not because it was comfortable or easy, but because Jesus wanted to redeem it and make it whole again. Because Jesus loves you that much. Because no one is left out of God’s story.
But if God is with us, what can possibly hold us back? If God is with us, what do we have to fear? If God is with us, then what dream, what vision, what calling is too big?
In our world, it can be so tempting to rush on by people, to look past our neighbor, or even worse, to look down upon them. It comes out of our busyness. It comes out of our fear. It comes out of our own wondering whether anyone actually sees us. But in our lives where we are constantly rushing, these words from Hagar should give us pause. For God came to the wilderness. God saw the person, and not just the slave. God called her by name. The God we serve is El-Roi, the God who sees.