by Pastor Ralph J. Mineo
Because of jealousy and anger, Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery. After many years, the brothers traveled to Egypt for food because of a famine. The person in charge of food distribution was, in fact, their long-lost brother, Joseph. But they didn’t recognize him. But Joseph certainly recognized them!
After testing them, and discovering that his brothers had changed. They had become men of integrity. So, Joseph was ready to forgive them, and reunite the family, including their father Jacob.
As recorded in Genesis 45:4, when the big reveal is about to happen, Joseph says to his brothers four simple, often forgotten, but very powerful words: “Come closer to me.” With these words, the process of forgiveness and reconciliation began. “Come closer to me.”
When relationships have trouble, especially in families, people become separated from one another. They stop talking to one another. They stop listening. They stop spending time with each other. They stop laughing together. Eventually, they stop caring about each other. Stress is strong. Grieving sets in. People become profoundly unhappy.
Joseph’s words are a powerful first step to forgiveness, healing, and reconciliation. “Come closer to me.”
Let’s listen, talk, and share together. Let’s break bread together. Let’s spend quality time together. Let’s put down the cell phones, the text messaging, and the emails. Let’s turn off the TV, and let’s TALK person to person.
Come closer to me. Relationships can be improved, even restored.
God is calling to us with those same words: “Come closer to me.” Come into my presence with thanksgiving. Come, tell me your needs, your problems. Come break bread with me. Come and cry on my divine shoulder. Come, let us laugh together, and rejoice in all the good things of this life. Come asking for healing and strength, for nourishment, for peace.
Hear this day the whisper of God into your soul: “Come closer to me.”