The journey to New Zealand involved far more "plane waiting" than I had anticipated and the trip took a total of 42 hours door to door. I am unsure if my body has yet absorbed the full impact of the journey, certainly my sleep pattern is more than a little "out of sorts". This weekend a tropical cyclone is due to sweep over the north of the islands but we are hoping that other than a good deal of rain we will avoid the worst of the weather.
Despite the delays in transit, and the final interminable delay at customs, the joy of embracing my sister as I emerged into the Arrivals Hall, made it all worthwhile. She has lived in NZ for nearly 30 years, and we have seen each other infrequently in that time (although FaceTime and Skype have helped in recent years).
My thoughts were drawn to the story of Joseph in Genesis, sold into slavery in his late teens but who rose through the providence of God to become the Governor of ancient Egypt at the age of 30 and who then guided the nation through 14 years of feast and famine.
So it must have been over 20 years after Joseph had left Canaan in chains, that his brothers made the arduous trek across the Sinai desert, and who stood bedraggled and starving before the Governor in the palace of Pharaoh to beg for food.
As the story makes clear, the mercy of God and the bond of family combine to rescue the tribe of Jacob from certain death. At first Joseph does not reveal his identity but in Chapter 45 we read "Joseph could no longer control himself........when he made himself known to his brothers he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard him and Pharaoh's household heard about it"
Family lies deep at the heart of tribe and nation. Relationship rather than lofty isolation is a profound characteristic of the three fold persona of God. Jesus Christ in whom we have the fullest revelation of God is born and raised in a human family the first born son with several brothers and sisters.
I am blessed to be part of a veritable tribe of relations with 7 brothers and sisters, and an extended family of close on a 100, although sad to say time and distance means that contact between the multiple branches of my family tree is often few and far between. Yet ties of DNA remain meaningful and powerful in humanity for both good and ill.
Each atom of my being declares
The history of the countless ties
That flows through time and space
To shape my consciousness and face.
Like heads on coins
That mark the march of time
Each frozen likeness
Echoes of the royal race.
The strands of DNA
From which creation springs
Binds sons and daughters
To their kith and kin
To tribe and race and nation state
And on to empire, bigotry and hate.
Who is my brother, sister, son?
Demands the Christ the Perfect One.
The love of God extends to all
And this the faith to which we're called,
To honour God, to seek His face
To love and grace the human race
No precondition, no reserve,
To heal, to bless, to feed, to serve.
(c) Martin Wild 2018