7 Epiphany C

LSB version of the RCL

The First Reading is recorded in Genesis 45:3-15. To set the stage: because of their jealousy, 10 of Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery in Egypt, and then lied to their father, telling him that Joseph had been killed by a wild beast. Their father Jacob never overcame his grief at the loss of his favorite son Joseph.

While in Egypt Joseph was falsely accused of rape and imprisoned. In prison he correctly interpreted the dreams to two other prisoners, one was released to again serve the Pharaoh. The Pharaoh had two troubling dreams. The released prisoner made the Pharaoh aware of Joseph, who – by the grace of God – interpreted the dreams: 7 years of plenty, and 7 years of devasting famine. Joseph was put in charge of preparing for the famine.

Once the famine hit, Joseph’s brothers came to Egypt to buy food. Joseph recognized them, called them spies, and treated them harshly. Now, when the brothers returned to buy more food, how would Joseph treat them? Justice would demand that they be punished, but Joseph realized that God has placed him in Egypt, even through the betrayal of his brothers, to prepare for the famine so that people would be kept alive. How would Joseph treat his brothers? With justice and punish them? Or with compassion, forgiving them? He forgave, and gives us a glimpse of the forgiveness we have in Christ.

Lord Jesus, we see our sinfulness and beg for mercy, not justice. We are reassured that through Your death and resurrection we are forgiven. Lead us to confession of sin and forgiveness each day. Amen.

The psalm, 103:1-13, is a psalm of praise, giving thanks and blessing the Lord – praising Him – for all the blessings the Lord gives to us. Read through the psalm, contemplating the love and actions of the Lord on our behalf. Our response? Praise and thanksgiving!

All glory, honor, thanks and praise be to You, O Lord, for all the blessings and steadfast love You shower upon us. We are humbled by Your steadfast love and mercy, and we give You thanks and praise. Amen.

The Second Reading, 1 Corinthians 15:21-26, 30-42, continues reading through parts of 1 Corinthians, and specifically continues the teaching about the resurrection of the dead, something some in Corinth were denying. In chapter 15 the apostle Paul boldly and clearly proclaims the resurrection of the dead. The question in this passage is: what will the resurrected body be like? Paul isn’t specific, nor does it matter, because the resurrected body will be free from sin, death, illness, injury; the resurrected body will be as God intends, and we will be in His presence forever.

Holy Spirit, keep us in faith, trusting that You will raise us up to eternal life with Jesus. We give thanks to You: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, for the gift of eternal life. Amen.

The Gospel for today is recorded in Luke 6:27-38, and is a continuation of the Sermon on the Plain. The call of Jesus is to radical love for others, not to seek revenge, but to help even our enemies, to give up everything for the sake of others. The demands are impossible for us to reach. We see how we fall short of this kind of love. But, Jesus does not. He loves all with His total giving of Himself, even to giving of Himself for the sake of His enemies. And He loves us with this same total and complete love. Let us grow in His love, and let His love be shown through us.

Lord Jesus, Your love for all, even those who seek to destroy You, is complete. Let Your Holy Spirit move all to see Your love, and to be made new by Your self-sacrificing love, restoring us to the heavenly Father through the grace and mercy You accomplished in Your death and resurrection. Amen.

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