“Jacob tore his clothes in grief, dressed in rough burlap, and mourned his son a long, long time.” Genesis 37:34
In 1681, William Penn received a parcel of land from England as repayment of a debt, and it became the state Pennsylvania. Penn chose a place for the capital and named it Philadelphia, derived from the Greek words: philos (loving) and adelphos (brother). Thus, Philadelphia’s nickname became the City of Brotherly Love. Wikipedia reports that Penn had experienced religious persecution and wanted his colony to be a place where people got along with one another and could worship freely. And, he also wanted to keep a brotherly-love relationship with the Native Americans in the area.
In Genesis 37, we read about Joseph, the eleventh son of Jacob–the one favored by his father. Because of jealousy, Joseph’s brothers beat him and cast him into a cistern. When a trader came along, they sold the “precious son” into slavery in Egypt. Through God’s design, Joseph could interpret the dreams of Pharaoh and helped to save Egypt from a severe famine. Eventually Pharaoh rewarded Joseph by putting him in charge of all the affairs of Egypt.
Now, for the good part of the story: Joseph’s family in Canaan were starving. On two occasions, his father, Jacob, sent his brothers to Egypt to purchase food from their brother they did not recognize! Eventually Joseph revealed his identity to his brothers, and as a sign of forgiveness, kissed each of them on the cheek–a true sign of brotherly love.
Lord, help us share brotherly love with those who need it the most. Amen.