10 “You shall settle in the land of Goshen, and you shall be near me, you and your children and your children’s children, as well as your flocks, your herds, and all that you have. 11I will provide for you there—since there are five more years of famine to come—so that you and your household, and all that you have, will not come to poverty.’” Genesis 45:10-11
“Land O’ Goshen! That was the best dinner I ever had!”
My grandma used to say things like that. As a child, I understood the sentiment expressed but never understood what it meant. Grandma was expressing her amazement and joy at the meal. And with her southern accent, it hardly sounded like words at all: it was more like “Lannagoshen!” But as a read through the story of Joseph and his brothers in Genesis 45, it struck me where that phrase might have come from.
Goshen represented God’s blessings in a time of severe famine, as Joseph called his family to move from their homeland to Goshen to be closer to Joseph and the resources with which God had blessed him. To joseph’s kin, Goshen was a refuge and salvation.
How are you feeling about your situation? Perhaps you feel like you are in the midst of famine, like your world is dry and the earth is cracking beneath your feet. The need for community, the need for justice, the need for love and peace seems to be far from you these days, and you just want some spiritual sustenance.
Well, “Land O’ Goshen! Has God got something for you!” God has promised to provide a place of safety, a place of hope, and a place of community where you are loved and cared for. And in the Holy Meal of the Eucharist, God has promised to feed you with grace, forgiveness, and power from God’s Spirit to sustain you in the world.
In your place, in your group, in your heart, God is there filling you up day by day, just like in the Land of Goshen. The famines come and go, but God is always there to hold and protect you. Be at peace in your Land O’ Goshen.