Over the past few years, we have been seeing what the Bible has always known: that human stories, when viewed through the lens of faith, teach us how to live. Together we have explored the stories of Abraham and Jacob. This year we come to the story of Joseph.

The journey of Joseph’s complicated relationship with his brothers will be our focus for this fall season. This is a common and extraordinary tale: sibling rivalries, dreams of destiny, acts of betrayal, realizations of loss, sudden reversals, acts of kindness, restored peace. And in this whole mix, there is God. In fact, like any really good story, there is more going on here than at first meets the eye.

Joseph was a person in process, just as we continue to be. We see him grow up from a despised younger brother to a respected leader, from one presumed dead to the centre of life and action. And if we pay close enough attention, we might see what perceptive readers have always noticed: that Joseph’s story carries an uncanny resemblance to the story of Jesus himself.

Joseph 1: But First… - Jeremy Duncan

Discussion Notes

We will not do justice to Joseph without remembering where he comes from. When the Hebrews called their God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, it was their way of rooting their identity in their experience of God and their history as a people. 

Joseph 2: Big Dreams, Bad Timing - Jeremy Duncan

Discussion Notes

Nahum Sarna describes the story of Joseph as “set forth by a master storyteller who employs with consummate skill the novelistic techniques of character delineation, psychological manipulation, and dramatic suspense.” You are invited to pay attention to how this beautiful narrative is put together and to listen to those particular moments when it speaks to us about what it means to be human.

Joseph 3: Brothers Gone Bad - Jeremy Duncan

Discussion Notes

This week we’re looking at how the brothers’ hurt that has not been dealt with turns into rejection and sets off a series of events that will eventually shape Joseph into a person of welcome. 

Joseph 4: #metoo - Jeremy Duncan

Discussion Notes

Today we follow Joseph to Egypt and see how the presence of God manifests itself in small and big ways in Joseph’s life and creates an alternative reading of reality that exposes the imbalances of power.

Joseph 5: In the Pit - Jeremy Duncan

Discussion Notes

So far the intent of the story was to get us to listen to the voices we do not usually listen to and to pay attention to the more complex and nuanced perspectives of the world. Today we are talking about what it feels like to be stuck and forgotten, and yet never outside of the Divine presence and grace.

Joseph 6: Smart v Wise - Jeremy Duncan

Discussion Notes

Last week, we were invited to pause our conversation after the chief cupbearer forgot all about his friend Joseph and left him in prison for another two years. Today we are looking at more dreams and what it means to speak peace in wisdom.

Joseph 7: Plan Well - Jeremy Duncan

Discussion Notes

This week we are moving from smart and wise to strategy, and we will consider practical plans for big problems. 

Joseph 8: Who Moves First - Jeremy Duncan

Discussion Notes

Today we are bringing the story to a close by focusing on the reconciliation of Joseph and his family.