And After That

And [Joseph] kissed all his brothers and wept upon them; and after that his brothers talked with him. – Genesis 45:15

Where does that conversation start?
“You sold me into Egypt.”
“Well, yes, we did. We, um, thought…”
“Well, we didn’t think…”
“Mostly, Joe, we felt…”
“Yeah, we felt, and mostly what we felt…”
“…Was angry.”
“Yeah.”
“Angry.”

I get angry, God. Oh, yes.
Despite the best advice, I’m ready now
to test You. Yes, and such a test.
For if our weary state is not
so great a hardship as the state of slavery,
or worse, imprisoned and yet guiltless,
or worse, awaiting a deliverance
that should not be delayed, yet is…

Our weary state is bad enough
that I can set it side-by-side
with seven years of famine and
with seven years of harvests
left to rot amidst the fields.
We ignored the Josephs who would tell us to
prepare for harsher times…

Well.
Suffice it to admit my heart is aching
and my blood is pounding and
I do not weep for resolution but
I weep in deep frustration and
I am not ready to embrace
my not-so-sorry siblings.

I hesitate as well to reach for You, O God.

So.

May I swiftly come into that place “and after that”
enjoyed by Joseph, Reuben, Judah, and the rest.
Restore to us the unity of family.
And… as I come to You, may my tears drench Your neck
and may Your tears run down beyond the collar
of my robes, as sweet upon the ground
as is the dew of Hermon.

A poem/prayer based on Genesis 45:1-15 and Psalm 133, the Revised Common Lectionary Alternate First Reading and Alternate Psalm for Year A, Proper 15 (20).

The image is Joseph Recognized by His Brothers by Léon Pierre Urbain Bourgeois (1863) – http://www.culture.gouv.fr/Wave/image/joconde/0419/m015586_0004599_p.jpg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8740999.