Grace UMC prepares for Sunday worship by reading the scripture for the coming Sunday’s sermon. Below, you fill find questions that can be used for Bible Study, small groups or personal devotion. Let the scripture speak into your life! Expect great things!
Guest Preacher: Rabbi Jocee Hudson
Jocee Hudson is a Rabbi, Spiritual Director, and Teacher. In July 2021, she joined LA Voice, a multi-racial, multi-faith community organization that awakens people to their own power, as their Clergy and Formation Lead.
Rabbi Hudson attended Brandeis University. She received rabbinic ordination and a Masters in Jewish Education from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, the seminary where she now serves as a visiting professor in Rabbinic Practice.
For 12 years prior to joining LA Voice, Jocee was a rabbi at Temple Israel of Hollywood.
Jocee and her partner Rook live in Los Feliz and are the proud parents of Sela, Max, and Solomon, ages 8, 6, and 6.
Preparation for Ninth Sunday After Pentecost
God, the encourager, God, the compassionate, God, the merciful, holy, blessed:
Disturb us. Rouse us from our sleep.
Lift us into consciousness of your presence.
Change us, move us, mold us for the better;
so that, at the sound of your voice,
at the call of our name, we will never be the same.
May our worship do this and so much more, in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Gathering Time: (5-10 minutes)
- Give one word to describe how it is with your soul.
- In pairs of 2 share a time when you felt taken advantage of, but it seemed to be beyond your control. How did you handle the situation?
Group Dialogue: Read Genesis 39:1-23
Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. Potiphar, an Egyptian who was one of Pharaoh’s officials, the captain of the guard, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him there.
2 The Lord was with Joseph so that he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. 3 When his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord gave him success in everything he did, 4 Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant. Potiphar put him in charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything he owned. 5 From the time he put him in charge of his household and of all that he owned, the Lord blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph. The blessing of the Lord was on everything Potiphar had, both in the house and in the field. 6 So Potiphar left everything he had in Joseph’s care; with Joseph in charge, he did not concern himself with anything except the food he ate.
Now Joseph was well-built and handsome, 7 and after a while his master’s wife took notice of Joseph and said, “Come to bed with me!”
8 But he refused. “With me in charge,” he told her, “My master does not concern himself with anything in the house; everything he owns he has entrusted to my care. 9 No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” 10 And though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her.
11 One day he went into the house to attend to his duties, and none of the household servants was inside. 12 She caught him by his cloak and said, “Come to bed with me!” But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house.
13 When she saw that he had left his cloak in her hand and had run out of the house, 14 she called her household servants. “Look,” she said to them, “this Hebrew has been brought to us to make sport of us! He came in here to sleep with me, but I screamed. 15 When he heard me scream for help, he left his cloak beside me and ran out of the house.”
16 She kept his cloak beside her until his master came home. 17 Then she told him this story: “That Hebrew slave you brought us came to me to make sport of me. 18 But as soon as I screamed for help, he left his cloak beside me and ran out of the house.”
19 When his master heard the story his wife told him, saying, “This is how your slave treated me,” he burned with anger. 20 Joseph’s master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined.
But while Joseph was there in the prison, 21 the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. 22 So the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there. 23 The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care, because the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did.
It seems Joseph can’t get a break. He is left for dead by his brothers, taken into a foreign land to serve as a slave, then he is lied about by the master’s wife and jailed. But throughout he seems to bloom where he is planted, making a way out of no way. Perhaps on our journey we need to look for blessings not in the absence of struggle, but in the heart of it, where we are protected and prospered.
- What is the first thing that came into your mind when you read or heard the text?
- God found favor in Joseph, so much so that others around attempted to take advantage of him. What social sins were revealed in this story?
- This story is filled with adversities and triumphs of God making a way out of no way. Can you name a few of the adversities and the opportunities that God placed before Joseph to encourage him?
- What does this scripture teach us about God? About Faith?
God of presence, you remained fully with Joseph when he sat long years in a prison for a crime he did not commit. Help us to see that you are always with us, so that we might live faithfully in your world. We pray these things in the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.