Click this link to hear an audio version of the below text narrated by SOTH member Jerry Rhinehart: http://sothrichfield.podbean.com
Genesis 50:9-14 (NIV)
9 Chariots and horsemen also went up with him. It was a very large company. 10 When they reached the threshing floor of Atad, near the Jordan, they lamented loudly and bitterly; and there Joseph observed a seven-day period of mourning for his father. 11 When the Canaanites who lived there saw the mourning at the threshing floor of Atad, they said, “The Egyptians are holding a solemn ceremony of mourning.” That is why that place near the Jordan is called Abel Mizraim. 12 So Jacob’s sons did as he had commanded them: 13 They carried him to the land of Canaan and buried him in the cave in the field of Machpelah, near Mamre, which Abraham had bought along with the field as a burial place from Ephron the Hittite. 14 After burying his father, Joseph returned to Egypt, together with his brothers and all the others who had gone with him to bury his father.
A child grows up playing soccer and gets a chance to play in college, but what happens when that is over? Or what happens in a marriage when parents experience the “empty nest”? I wonder what that trip back to Egypt was like for Joseph and his brothers. Their father Jacob, the man who fought with God and received God’s blessing, is gone. He was the center of the family. What now? For Joseph and his brothers, the story continues. They must learn to live in direct relationship with one another. They also must learn what it means to be the people of God, the chosen family that bears the promises of God to the world, without Jacob. What is God doing? Will God continue to be faithful? The cross and empty tomb reminds us that God is faithful and is at work, making us new, even when we cannot see or understand what comes next.