When I was directing Chi-Rho (Middle School age) Camp this Summer, my co-director and I shared the duties of keynoting for the campers. We were to talk about what topic for each day: give a little knowledge, be entertaining, help stir the minds of the youth towards the possibility of the inward breaking of the Divine. You know… the simple things.
Our focus for the week were the 5 C’s of Christianity (Everyone loves alliteration.) Creation, Covenant, Christ, Church, Commencement.
I gave a keynote on all but Commencement and Whitney gave a keynote on all but the Creation.
During my keynote Covenant, I spoke about the first covenants in the Bible: the rainbow (yes, I know some people say it was only a promise, but I included it anyways) and God’s covenant with Abraham.
I focused on Jacob wrestling with his foe (was it God or an angel or another man? I went with God for this keynote). I even had them do thumb wresting wars (see what I did there). I tried to give them the message that yes, God is faithful, but sometimes we have to hold God accountable (Jacob’s demanding to know his foe’s name).
The focus of that keynote is not the focus of this post. It is the context.
As I was wrapping up the talk, setting the stage for Whitney’s keynote in the afternoon, I closed with my favorite verse from the Hebrew Bible: “And then arose a Pharaoh who did not know Jacob” (Ex. 1:8)
I explained why it was my favorite: The entire story of the Israelite people in subjugation to the Egyptians happened because of this Pharaoh who didn’t know Jacob. God’s deliverance of the Israelites happened because of this verse.
And then I had a new thought right as I was talking. I say this without abandon, the Spirit moved in me and helped me realize what it was about, or at least a different thing the verse is about.
The relationship between the Israelites and Egyptians was broken when a Pharaoh did not know Jacob. All the pain and suffering given to the Israelites happened because of a broken and severed relationship.
It just so happens that I get to preach on August 24th I get to preach. And it just so happens that one of the Hebrew Bible texts that week in the Lectionary includes this verse.
Maybe it’s a coincidence, if you’re into that type of thing. I however think it is another part of the Spirit blowing where it will.
I am extremely excited to continue working on this sermon (since I began yesterday…), and you can bet I’m going to speak about relationship.