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Speaking to the Soul: Bring my Bones

Speaking to the Soul: Bring my Bones

Week of 4 Lent, Year Two

[Go to Mission St Clare for an online version of the Daily Office including today’s scripture readings.]

Today’s Readings for the Daily Office:
Psalms 101, Psalm 109:1-4(5-19)20-30 (morning) // 119:121-144 (evening)

Genesis 50:15-26

1 Corinthians 12:1-11

Mark 8:11-26

A recent death in my family has led several relatives to share their wishes about their final resting place. Perhaps that’s why Joseph’s instructions in today’s first reading strike me as unusual. Instead of specifying where he’d like to be put in the ground, Joseph asks to stay on the move with his brothers and their descendants.

Joseph tells them, “I am about to die; but God will surely come to you, and bring you up out of this land to the land that he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.” And he makes them swear that “When God comes to you, you shall carry up my bones from here.” Joseph doesn’t want to stay behind; he wants to go with his people to the land that God has promised them.

What plans are we making for a piece of ourselves to move on with the rest of God’s people? If God’s people are always moving toward fuller justice, deeper peace, and truer prosperity, can we go too? Although it’s important to help those we leave behind to honor our wishes after we’ve died, it’s also important to imagine ourselves accompanying all of God’s people into a land of promise that we may not see fulfilled in our limited lifetime.

It turns out that God’s people honor Joseph’s wishes. At the end of today’s reading, Joseph dies at the age of one-hundred and ten, and he is embalmed and placed in a coffin in Egypt. But according to Exodus 13:19, Moses brings Joseph’s bones with him when he leads people out of Egypt and into the wilderness before crossing the Red Sea. Perhaps we won’t travel all the way toward freedom by name or in body, but we can pray now for our impact to be felt among all who seek to fulfill the promise within each child of God.

Lora Walsh blogs about taking risks and seeking grace at A Daily Scandal. She serves as Priest Associate of Grace Episcopal Church in Siloam Springs and assists with education, young adult ministry, and campus ministry at St. Paul’s in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

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