Sold into Egypt
They saw him from a distance, and before he came near to them, they conspired to kill him. They said to one another, "Here comes this dreamer. Come now, let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits; then we shall say that a wild animal has devoured him, and we shall see what will become of his dreams." But when Reuben heard it, he delivered him out of their hands, saying, "Let us not take his life." Reuben said to them, "Shed no blood; throw him into this pit here in the wilderness, but lay no hand on him" -- that he might rescue him out of their hand and restore him to his father. So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe, the long robe with sleeves that he wore; and they took him and threw him into a pit. The pit was empty; there was no water in it.
Then they sat down to eat; and looking up they saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead, with their camels carrying gum, balm, and resin, on their way to carry it down to Egypt. Then Judah said to his brothers, "What profit is it if we kill our brother and conceal his blood? Come, let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and not lay our hands on him, for he is our brother, our own flesh." And his brothers agreed. When some Midianite traders passed by, they drew Joseph up, lifting him out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver. And they took Joseph to Egypt.
Preparing to preach on this text today, I found myself thinking about the Church, its lesbian and gay sisters and brothers, and the Lambeth Conference. Ready to throw the gay and lesbian faithful into the pit to wither and die – having already thrown us there with centuries of denying our existence, much less our vocations; decades of asking us to remain quiet; two years of moratoria on blessing our relationships our consenting to consecrating any of us bishops – the Church, at Lambeth, has conceived the idea of drawing us out of the pit and bargaining us away for a profit.
The bargain? Our lives, loves, and vocations sacrificed to buy credit with those who insist we not be tolerated. Extending the moratoria shows good faith. Not to us, of course, but we, it seems, are not the ones who matter. And why should we, we’re on our way to Egypt. Sold for the appearance of unity, bargained away to make our betrayers look holy and self-sacrificing.
But remember what happened in Egypt. It was the one who was bartered away who saved not only the nation but also the family who sold him. Looking for redemption in the Anglican Communion? Keep your eyes on the folks in the many-colored coats (or boas). Keep your eyes on those who were sold into oblivion.