Perspectives… that is normally all we have, or as Paul said ‘we see through a glass darkly’. I have been provoked by a number of zooms I have been involved in these past weeks to consider again some aspects of a prophetic word I received in 1999. The actual word is kinda incidental, but it has pushed me to think about Joseph, Egypt and the famine in Canaan. The story you will know well.
The pandemic has been a provocation for many people and deeply challenging. Adjustments will have to be made in many places, but recently I heard a report from a conference that the worry / complaints from the leaders present were that their numbers had gone down, they had ‘lost’ people. That made me think.
The ‘bread’ that has been (mainly) offered and consumed has been on growing the church, evangelism etc. As I wrote concerning the Acts 15 council I consider that there was a shift from a Jewish world view after the New Testament era, to adopting a Hellenistic (neo-Platonic in the main) world-view. Salvation became that of the ‘soul’ being saved so that we are able to go to heaven when we die, with the dear old world being left behind as it was destined to be burned up. I do not think that accords with a Jewish world-view. Meanwhile over centuries the Jewish calling became lost with a shift in meaning as to what the purpose of election was. Thank God for voices such as Jeremiah calling for them to embed in Babylon!
The bread on offer is running out. In Europe it is already diminishing in availability… in Brazil (where I do numerous Zooms) there is still a 15 year – or so – availability, the shelves are and will remain full.
There has to be, though, a realisation that the bread is running out, otherwise there will be severe rationing; the bread will be shared among fewer people.
Now the little twist that has been provoking me.
The bread for the future is in Egypt.
There is some kind of tie here to the post I wrote about Jesus being with the wild animals. The bread is located in the Imperial setting. (For those with discernment, Someone is doing a number on me!)
However, Joseph is problematic. We should not be too harsh on him, and if I read stuff aright here we are with his example and some 3,500+ years later we still seem to peddling the same old model. That model being – the bread will be in Egypt, we have the recipe how to make it and of course it will mean the enslavement of everyone, except for those at the top, for after all we need to be practical. Or in current language, we have to get into the world and get control so that we can change the world, and those of us who follow Jesus can be really happy that our people are at the top and all those ‘Egyptians’ deserve to be enslaved anyway cos they have some really nasty gods. Let’s capture the top 3% now!
After Joseph the Imperial power is stronger than before! All the land belongs to Pharaoh. Bread is provided but… at what cost?
In conclusion then.
Bread is running out. The bread that has been on offer. The new bread is different, it is made from a different recipe. It is – hey, my perspectives – not about individual salvation but about transformation of our world; it is the valuing of one and all; it is the end of hierarchy (one day I need to write about this and the gift of leadership); creation stewarding; signposts to the age to come expressed through the images that art, architecture can show us; the distribution of the ‘soul’ of the world into the world etc…
That bread is running out in Western Europe – hence the complaints about the pandemic from that angle, and the call to get back to ‘normal’. That bread is still in evidence in many parts of the world. (Not just now a perspective, but a total unashamed bias – it is for this reason I believe Europe is pointing the way forward… the way forward is not about church growth, but about being located inside Imperial domination.)
The new bread will only be found in Egypt.
We cannot do a Joseph, but have to be located where Joseph was located. To get there we should keep the complaints about being sold, of false accusation and imprisonment, to a minimum. That is the most likely pathway, as journeying to Egypt for many followers of Jesus will never happen without the help of a little betrayal, and some false accusations…
We cannot do a Joseph and strengthen the Imperial power. The land does not belong to Pharaoh. But to the meek.