Once again, I read this plagued by horrible flashbacks to Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. It’s been something like 11 years since I was in that show — I was in high school — and I swear it will never leave my brain. Which means I kept hearing the Pharaoh as Elvis.
Sometimes theater is really annoying that way.
Anyway! Joseph! In prison! Interpreting dreams!
I kinda love this stuff. It just feels so much more…possible. To me. I mean, let’s face it. If someone appeared to me on the street and claimed to be God, I’d move politely to the other side of the sidewalk. I live in a major city, so people HAVE done things akin to that, and really politely finding away to extricate oneself from the conversation as quickly as possible is the goal.
Granted, I suppose there’s always the outside possibility they actually could be God, which is why I go for as polite as possible and not rude or insulting.
Anyway. The thing is, especially with our modern minds, we’re resistant to things that we can’t rationalize or explain. We want proof, we want things to make sense. The stranger on the street is not actually channeling the Holy Spirit, they’ve fallen through the cracks of our mental health system. If most of us started hearing the voice of God, the first thing we’d do is call a psychiatrist and ask about lithium.
None of that is wholly bad, of course. Mental health issues are legitimate, serious issues and I think we should take them serious and make sure people get treatment.
But it does make it harder to engage with the mystical aspect of spirituality. But then…we have dreams.
(You totally thought I’d forgotten where I started this, didn’t you? Nope, there’s a point! Eventually.)
In dreams, our guard is down. In dreams, we are able to let down our rational walls, our fears and doubts dissolves. In short, we stop getting in our own way. In dreams, we may hear the voice of God.
Of course, not everyone believes this. Plenty of people think dreams are nothing but random neural firings. Or, on the occasion that a prophetic dream comes to pass, it’s merely the subconscious knitting together previously unconnected bits of information. Others just ignore them.
But dreams can have meaning. They can open us to the divine. And here this is what happens — the cup bearer, the baker, the Pharaoh. All are receiving messages but as so often happens, they are too close to see the meaning. It takes Joseph to look at the situation with fresh eyes.
It’s interesting here that there is the implied rebuke of Egyptian religion here. Of course this is done to hold up the superiority of the Hebrew God, but there’s a specificity to it that stands out to me; perhaps because Egypt had such a well-developed religious culture of it’s own.
It’s also interesting here that Joseph intermarries — to a daughter of a Priest no less — and there’s no criticism. Again, I reflect on this; intermarriage can be seen primarily as a religious aspect but that doesn’t seem to come into play here. So perhaps there is something else. The Egyptian culture would, I believe, have been a bit more…refined, let’s say, than many of the tribal cultures. So perhaps that is more the issue?
Things to ponder…