When I was a child and had the flu, I’d lie on the couch and watch the only thing on daytime TV, daytime drama: “These Are the Days of Our Lives.” If I wasn’t sick, it would make me sick. Lots of talking and so much emotion; it was nauseating.

But I would be OK if I could just hang on until 4:30, for at 4:30 Star Trek came on. I now realize that it too was drama, but it was drama in space! And it had Mr. Spock. For Mr. Spock, logic was unemotional, and emotion was illogical.

In the Bible, “logic” is actually an easy word, or concept, to find. The Greek word “Logos” is translated as “logic,” “reason,” or “word.” “Emotion” is a harder word, or concept, to find, although folks in the Bible definitely have what we would call “emotions.” Yet there is one word group that comes fairly close to our concept of emotion and that would be the verb, “pascho,” and the accompanying nouns, “pathos” and “pathema.” They’re usually translated as passion or suffering.

In classical Greek, they refer to things that affect us and are not easily controlled—like a cross, or an “emotion.” Hence, we are confused by the English word “passion;” we’re saved by Christ’s “passion,” and yet wary of evil “passions.”

Well for us, drama certainly appears to be a problem. Listen to our prayers: “Lord may everything go according to plan—no drama please.” And yet Paul prays, “That I may know him . . . and share in his ‘pathema,’ his suffering, his drama, his passion.” We like passion plays but not actual passion!

Perhaps the most passionate of all stories in the Old Testament is the story of Joseph. Hopefully, it’s familiar to you. At the age of seventeen, he dreams that the sun, moon, and eleven stars bow down to him. He has eleven brothers: one younger and ten older and very jealous of Joseph. They throw him in a pit, sell him as a slave, and fake his death for their father.

Twenty-some years later, Joseph has gone from a life of slavery and abuse to a position of power as Pharaoh’s second in command over the Empire of Egypt. During a famine, his older brothers come to him attempting to buy grain. He recognizes them, but they don’t recognize him—quite a drama and this is just the beginning of all the “weeping.” Genesis 43: “ he turned from them and wept… [Joseph’s] compassion grew warm for his brother, and he sought a place to weep. And he entered his chamber and wept there.” After a series of extremely dramatic trials, Joseph reveals himself to his brothers. Genesis 45 “And he wept aloud, so that the Egyptians heard it, and the household of Pharaoh heard it… Then he fell upon his brother Benjamin’s neck and wept, and Benjamin wept upon his neck. And he kissed all his brothers and wept upon them.”

After an extremely emotional and weepy reunion with his father and an insanely emotional funeral several years later, the brothers worry that Joseph may pay them back for all the evil that they had done to him. And so, they throw themselves before Joseph (just as in the dream) and they beg forgiveness for their sin. Genesis 50: “Joseph wept when they spoke before him… But Joseph said to them, ‘Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant it for evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. So do not fear; I will provide for you.”

How did the dream come true? How did Joseph become such a beautiful vessel of Mercy? How did he come to look so very much like Jesus?

1. He must’ve had some faith in the dream.
2. And so he hoped; he knew that whatever evil might plan, it could only be part of God’s plan.
3. He wept… and wept and wept; he forgave.

Western Christians have turned forgiveness into a small thing regarding God’s response to our sin. In Scripture it’s not a small thing, but literally everything. In the New Testament the word “forgive,” usually translates the Greek word “aphiemi,” which means “to let,” as in “Let there be light. Let there be trees. Let there be Adam in our own image and likeness.”

In the Old Testament and here in Genesis 50, “forgive” translates the Hebrew word “nasa,’” which means, “to bear.” The brothers literally ask Joseph to “bear” their “sin.” And he does… somehow. How could Joseph bear such emotional pain? How could Joseph forgive and not become the very thing he hated? How could Joseph let himself feel what he needed to feel?

1. He must’ve had some faith in the dream, or the dream was faith in Joseph.
2. He must’ve had some hope; tears of sorrow would turn into tears of joy.
3. He must’ve known he was the beloved, and Love was telling the story. And so, his identity was not dependent on the drama in the story. And yet, all the drama in the story revealed his true identity, such that he became the one that he had always truly been.

It’s just what happens whenever you watch a good movie. The drama isn’t dependent on you—you didn’t write the story. And so, you let yourself get emotional and then discover that the story has written you. You watch Superman, without fear, and then discover Superman in you—you become a little more courageous. You watch The Passion of the Christ, then, one day, realize that Christ has become the passion in you—his body.

But if you don’t believe and can’t hope, you’ll check out of the movie when it gets too intense, in which case the last frame of the movie will trap you in a moment of time; you’ll tear a page from the novel, in which case you’ll never know the plot and yet carry that page with you wherever you go.

Well, Joseph must’ve lived his life the way you watch a good movie; he experienced it, while detached from his ego—the illusion that he was the author of the story. And yet by the end of the story, he became exactly who it was that he had always been—not the dreamer but the Dream.

Human words fail at this point, but I’ll try: Joseph did not live his life; the Life lived Joseph, and that Life came to Joseph as drama.

The Life is hanging on the tree in the middle of a garden that is the Sanctuary of your soul.
The Life is the Truth and the Way: the Logos, the Logic of God, the Logic of Love.
He is the Emotion behind all motion.

Emotion is not a lack of logic. Emotion is more logic than we can comprehend; it (he) comprehends us. You cannot comprehend love. But when Love comprehends you, when Love knows you, you experience its (his) movements as feelings of joy, peace patience, kindness, etc.; you emote; you move in Love; Love bears all things… including you.

And yet, not all emotion is good emotion. My unhealthy emotions are good emotions infected with a lie and the lie is that I can comprehend the Logic of Love and use the Logic of Love to create myself and my world in the image of God. The lie is Me-sus in the place of Jesus.

Our unhealthy emotions cannot become the Good Emotion by repressing bad emotions and faking new emotions or by simply expressing emotions, which are unhealthy for all. They can only be healed at the base of the tree when we stop trying to “live our life,” and let “the Life live us.”

“Spock, you’re not afraid of dying,” said Dr. McCoy to Mr. Spock. “You’re afraid of living. You’re afraid you’ll slip, and let the human come out.” We’re each like Mr. Spock: half machine and half Adam—Eschatos Adam. We’re afraid to lose control, and let Love be in control; we’re afraid to surrender to the Logos of Love; we’re afraid to lose ourselves and find ourselves in Jesus. Forgiveness is letting the Passion of the Christ flow through you like blood through a blood vessel—a vessel of mercy in the Body of Christ.

Sun, moon, and stars actually do bow down to our brother Jesus. And (Romans 8:19) they will bow down to you, provided you feel what Jesus feels, which includes the emotions you refuse to feel right now. It’s safe to feel them in Jesus, the Logic of Love, and the Plot to every story. The Dream is Good. God gets his dream. The Dream comes to you as “the days of our lives.”

You must live those days, and you can only truly live them in communion with Jesus. He’s the Way home to who it is that you truly are, not the dreamer but the dream—God’s dream.

Sit in silence before him. Tell him how you feel. Give him your feelings. Then your feelings are his feelings, and now you are participating in his passion. And now, ask him, “How do we feel?” Do what Love feels. He is the emotion behind all motion. “He comes to you as your life.”

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