Friday, April 29, 2011

Altar flowers April 2011

Easter , April 24

Easter Flower Designers: Caron Burgess, Teri Andres Coryell, Joanne Fleece, Pam Holley, Marilyn Lanctot, Susan Lahey (missing from picture), Anne Long, Deenie Miller, Vicky Steinwender, Keith Tulloch, Joanne Turrell and Elizabeth Walters-Alison.

April 17

The Altar arrangements are given to the Glory of God and in thanksgiving for the birthday of Fr. John Suhar by The Flower Guild and in thanksgiving for faithful friends, Carolyn and Dick Nelson by Julie Songster.
Flower Designers: Teri Andres Coryll and Barby Field

April 10

The Altar Flowers are given to the Glory of God and in loving memory of Michael Wray Humphrey by Todd Humphrey and Jennifer Trivoli.
Flower designers: Susan Lahey and Deenie Miller

 April 3

The altar greenery is given to the Glory of God and in thanksgiving for the birthday of Carl Bowley by Betty Bowley.

Flower designers: Louise Yardumian and Marilyn Lanctot

Photographed and submitted by Elizabeth Walters-Alison

Thursday, April 28, 2011

From on High

Photos by Mike Harris and Bill Mc Mahon
The Friday before our festive Palm Sunday visit by Bishop Smith, the call came in that we had some non-responsive floodlights up in the high rafters in the Altar Zone. This is not a simple task of getting a step ladder and swapping out light bulbs. It calls for some technical machinery to get up to the light fixtures. Also, the fixtures are incased in a wood to blend with the rafters. There is also need to not be frightened by high altitude. Our good Sexton (Mike Harris) made me aware of the problem and advised that he had contracted for a machine to get to the problem. When the machine arrived he called again and said, the thing would not work, too big to get in the church; however, another firm was to come to our rescue and would get their equipment to us by early afternoon. But, to get to the Altar area we would need some muscle to get up the stairs. So we recruited some stout fellows (Steinwender, McMahon, a good friend, Gerry Bruger, and myself) and met in the Nave. We managed to get the machine up to the Altar and leveled. Mike took the light bulbs and proceeded upward. The first problem he found was the connecter on the burned out bulb was loose (consensus was sound vibration has power). We solved the problem which was a burned out light bulb, as well as a loose wire. Mike came down, got Bill’s cell phone, went back up, and took some photos from what would be an angel’s view. It is quite a different perspective from on high. We all learned some new skills in this experience.

Submitted by Walter C. Jaap

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Golf & Nature- a Marine Biologists View of the Saint Thomas Golf Tournament

My buddy Nancy Siver asked me to be a Hole in One Inspector-Judge, I, not having played golf since the late 1950s was not too sure I was qualified, but Nancy said the job was a piece of cake. So I did not have a reasonable back out. I got a list, a golf cart; Leroy was going to be the other judge, so we set out to locate the second hole. It took us a few false turns, but pretty soon we got there. I got the tee, Lee Roy took the green. Pretty soon Steve & Carroll Smith arrived to tee off. They saw the sign for $10K and I think it un-nerved their skills. They were the first of many groups that seemed a bit uneasy about the challenge. Some offered bribes but Lee Roy and I can’t be bought (cheaply). In the end and it was a long afternoon, the closest anyone put a ball on the green was about 10 ft (3 m). Our folks are very tech savvy; the majority used laser rangefinders to determine the distance from the tee to the flag (the consistency in the range was plus or minus tens of feet). They actually publish the distance on the score card if you care to look; I know, it is so much cooler to shoot the distance with the laser.

Between the dramas of hitting balls I had ample opportunity to watch the multitude of birds that share the golf course with the humans (note they are unpaid and unofficial members of the club). They seem to coexist and are not much bothered by the folks driving hither and yon in the golf carts and then they jump out whack the ball and off again chasing the illusive par. The first bird to catch my eye was a Pandion haliaetus (Osprey or fish hawk, much in the news this week for nesting on a big crane in a Tampa shipyard). There stood the magnificent Pandion viewing the golf match from high above, in a nest on a pole. I took a few photos, because I crossed the line, Pandion started to cry and I backed off. Next was a flock of Phalacrocorax auritus (double-crested cormorant), they were situated on a concrete water control device, at the water hazard left of hole two. They were resting and drying their wings. There was a chorus of crows that flew over repeatedly giving me a serenade similar to our choir singing their hearts out. Who knows why crows (Corvus ossifragus) make so much calling? (Perhaps they are trying to gain Louise’s attention for a chance to perform with a master) My best encounter happened when Nancy Siver’s team were teeing off. Her Pro (Mr. Johnson) was about to smack the hole in one, when descending to the field to the right was a magnificent Ajaja ajaja, aka Platalea ajaja (Roseate Spoonbill). The Ajaja set down in a small tidal creek just ahead of the tee. I got some great photos of this guy, the pink color was so bright and beautiful; it made the day and the experience worth the wait.

Being a HIO Judge was a great way to spend an afternoon, watching nature and my friends playing golf. Thanks for the opportunity.
Submitted by Walt Jaap

Photos Walt Japp

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Women of the Word will meet every morning during Holy Week, starting next Monday, April 18, at 9:00 a.m.

                         Women of the Word, April 14

Genesis 50
The first eleven verses of this final chapter describe Jacob’s (here called Israel by the priestly writer) death and Joseph’s mourning for him. Because he died in Egypt, Jacob’s body was embalmed, and he was mourned for 70 days, the number of completion. At the end of that time, Joseph secured Pharaoh’s permission to take Jacob’s body back to Caanan for burial in the ancestral cave at Machpelah. They traveled through the trans-Jordan with a massive retinue, a sign of the great respect accorded to the patriarch.

When Joseph and all the company returned to Egypt, his brothers were afraid that Joseph still held a grudge against them for their long ago actions, so they approached him and claimed that, on his deathbed, Jacob had asked Joseph to “forgive your brothers’ crime and wickedness,” although there is no mention of this request in Jacob’s dying blessing in Gen. 49. Kneeling before their brother, the others said, “You see, we are your slaves,” thus fulfilling the dream prophecy that Joseph had made to them as a boy (Gen. 37:5-10). Joseph, however, set their minds at ease, reminding them, as he had earlier, that although they had meant him harm God had turned that to good “by preserving the lives of many people.”

Joseph lived to see the birth of his great-great-grandsons; when he was dying he told his family and his brothers that “God will not fail to come to your aid and take you from here to the land which he promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” He made them promise that when that happened, they would take his bones with them “from here”; Moses would fulfill this promise when he led the exodus out of Egypt (Ex. 13:19). In the meantime, Joseph was embalmed and buried in Egypt.

This finishes that part of the Torah that shows what the chosen people thought of themselves culturally and spiritually as they reflected on their origins. Genesis is a study on how to recover and rebuild. You do this by taking care of the tribe; it is protected and defended, moved when necessary. Sometimes this meant losing a battle but never giving up or losing identity. The writers are true to the story; it is presented as it happened. There is no attempt to clean up or gloss over those actions that put any of the actors in a bad light; they are pictured, warts and all, in their place in early Hebrew history.

The Women of the Word will meet every morning during Holy Week, starting next Monday, April 18, at 9:00 a.m. Monday we will meet in the Library. Tuesday through Friday we will meet in our usual venue in the Guild Room. Barbara Suhar will be discussing various aspects of the liturgy involving the week, the Last Supper, the role of the women around Jesus, Joseph of Arimathaea, and much more. Anyone who is interested is welcome to join us!

Submitted by Karilyn Jaap

Saturday, April 16, 2011

8th Annual St. Thomas' Golf Classic

What a fun day!! Nothing but blue skies above and lots of beautiful
greens and fairways beneath to offer a challenge to our 64 golfers who
generously participated in this years Golf Classic.

Afterwards, we gathered around the pool at the golf course and enjoyed
beer, wine and other cold drinks followed by some tempting h'ors oevres.
The most delightful part of the reception was the music provided by our
own Harmony Band. They had a wonderful mixture of musical genres and
provided the perfect background for the social part of the day.

We cannot announce the total profits as yet but all in all, it was a very
beneficial day. Many volunteers for the First Tee were present to monitor
hole-in-one tries as well as hit their long drives for those of us who felt
the need! My heartfelt thanks to all of the St. Thomas' volunteers who sat
in the sun most of the afternoon collecting money and setting up while the
golfers enjoyed their game.
Submitted by Nancy Siver
Photos Tammy Zybura

For email subscribers please click on the image to see the slide show.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Lenten study, Sunday, April 17 at 9am in the Guild room

We all compare ourselves to others. We spend our lives wondering what others think and say about us. Some of us even wish we were someone else. We question why we are the way we are and not the way we wish we could be. Some of us have let the expectations of others dictate who we've become. We act a certain way to be accepted but know that we're being untrue. But why are we so concerned with what other people think, say, or look like? What does it say about us if we are unable to accept who we are? Maybe if we really knew our true selves, we wouldn't give so much attention to other peoples' lives and live more in tune with the life God wants for us.
Topics: Fake, Self, Identity, Approval, Envy
For email subscribers please click on to watch the 1 min video.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

From the men's bible study, April, 13

MATTHEW 21:1-11

Matthew described the event as the deliberate attempt by Jesus to reveal himself a peaceful Messiah. He did this by quoting one of Israel’s prophets directly as he so often did (Zech. 9:9-10). Matthew also alludes to it by the choice of the mount Jesus made in sending two of his disciples into Bethphage to bring him the humblest of beasts of burden. Zechariah’s prophecy symbolized the peaceful choice of a victorious monarch selecting a donkey as his mount instead of a conqueror’s proud steed for his triumphal entry into his capital city. Inevitably the prophecy became attached to the messianic vision of both Jews and Christians. Though he had no intention of being king, Jesus’ disciples and others thwarted him by throwing their garments and branches before him as Jehu had been hailed as king in 2 Kings 9:13.

The early Christians drew many of the narratives about the life and ministry of Jesus from their Jewish background, no matter whether the events so reported were historical or not. Many progressive scholars now declare quite openly that the gospel authors, beginning with Mark, wrote the narrative of the Passion with metaphorical references to many passages in the Hebrew Scriptures. This certainly was one of them.

Did strewing the ground with garments and branches refer to Isaiah’s hailing the returning exiles with “a voice that cries: prepare a road for the Lord through the wilderness” (Isa. 40:3)? Or was it no more than a sign of honor and spontaneous enthusiasm by those caught up in the excitement of the moment?
According to Luke, only the disciples participated in the celebration, but the text also suggests that the crowd remained silent while the Pharisees complained. Matthew and Mark implied that the crowd turned the incident into a messianic demonstration, which may have been precisely the opposite of Jesus’ intention. Could it also have been Matthew’s sense of the drama about to unfold with tragic consequences?

Isaiah 50:4-9a
The part of Isaiah written in exile (Chapters 40-55) contains four servant songs, sections that interrupt the flow of the book but have a unity within themselves. The first (42:1-7) begins “Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen ...”; in the second (49:1-7) the servant, abused and humiliated, is commissioned anew; in the third (our passage) he is disciplined and strengthened by suffering; and in the fourth (52:17-53:12) even the Gentiles are in awesome contemplation before the suffering and rejected servant. In late Judaism, he was seen as the perfect Israelite, one of supreme holiness, a messiah. In the gospels, Jesus identifies himself as the servant (or slave), the one who frees all people.

In vv. 4-6, God has “opened my ear”; he has commissioned the servant as one who is taught, i.e. like a disciple. God has made him a “teacher” (a prophet) of the “word” of God, to bring God’s comfort to “the weary”, his fellow Israelites – who reject God. He has accepted this command: he is not “rebellious”. They have tortured him (v. 6), as they did prophets before him, but he has accepted their “insult and spitting”. In vv. 7-9a, the servant says that, because God helps him, he is not disgraced; he confidently accepts the suffering (“set my face like flint”), and will not be put to shame. God will prove him right (“vindicates”, v. 8). He is willing to face his “adversaries”, his accusers – for the godly to “stand up together” with him against the ungodly. He is confident that, with God’s help, none will declare him guilty.

Philippians 2:5-11
In vv. 1-4, Paul has urged the Christians at Philippi, through “encouragement in Christ”, and moved by God’s love for them, to “be of the same mind[set], having the same love, being in full accord ...”. They are to “regard others as better than ... [themselves]”, freely adopting a lowly, unassertive stance before others, replacing self-interest with concern for others.

Vv. 5-11 are an early Christian hymn to which Paul has added v. 8b. He exhorts his readers to be of the same mindset as Jesus – one that is appropriate for them, given their existence “in Christ” (v. 5). Christ was “in the form of God” (v. 6): he was already like God; he had a God-like way of being, e.g. he was not subject to death. He shared in God’s very nature. Even so, he did not “regard” being like God “as something to be exploited”, i.e. to be grasped and held on to for his own purposes. Rather, he “emptied himself” (v. 7), made himself powerless and ineffective - as a slave is powerless, without rights. He took on the likeness of a human being, with all which that entails (except sin), including “death” (v. 8). As a man, he lowered (“humbled”) himself, and throughout his life in the world, was fully human and totally obedient to God, even to dying. (Paul now adds: even to the most debasing way of dying, crucifixion – reserved for slaves and the worst criminals.)
God actively responded to this total denial of self, his complete living and dying for others, by placing him above all other godly people (“highly exalted him”, v. 9), and bestowing on him the name, title and authority of “Lord” (v. 11) over the whole universe (“heaven”, v. 10, “earth”, “under the earth”). God has given him authority which, in the Old Testament, he reserved for himself. (Isaiah 45:22-25)
Submitted by Dick Nelson

Monday, April 11, 2011

Altar flowers March 2011

March 27

The Altar Flowers are given to the Glory of God and in memory of Edward Wright by his family.                                                                      
          Flower designers: Elizabeth Walters-Alison and Linda Sordan.

     March 20

             The Altar greenery is given in thanksgiving for God's beautiful creation!
             Flower designers: Joanne Fleece, Cynthia Fleece and Julie Songster

   March 13

The altar greenery is given to the Glory of God and in thanksgiving for the birthday of
 The Rev. Chris Schuller from the Flower guild.
                                             Flower designers: Pam Holley and Caron Burgess

    March 6

The Altar Flowers are given to the Glory of God and in thanksgiving for the heavenly birthday of Robert M. Ellinwood by Gloria Ellinwood.

Flower designers: Louise Yardumian and Elizabeth Walters-Alison

Photographed and submitted by Elizabeth Walters-Alison

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Women of the Word, April 7

Genesis 49

Most of this chapter is a lengthy poem on Jacob’s deathbed blessing of his twelve sons. His description of what will happen to each one is written on scrolls by a series of scribes during the Babylonian exile to account for each tribe’s varying fortunes. As we have seen before, blessings in ancient cultures carried great weight and, once given, could not be removed or reversed.

Reuben: Although he was the first-born, he would “not excel” because he “defiled” his father’s concubine (Rachel’s maid, Bilhah). Historically, the tribe became isolated and had practically disappeared by the time of the monarchy.

Simeon and Levi: Jacob curses them for killing “men wantonly” in the slaughter of Prince Hamor’s village over the incident of their sister Dinah’s engagement to an outsider. Simeon was reduced to a handful of cities and the Levites became the priestly class who could not own land.

Judah: Judah, although fourth in line, now receives the blessing forfeited by his three older brothers. He is described as the “lion’s whelp” and is assured of the leadership of all the tribes and a fruitful territory. His blessing is lengthy because, at the time of this writing, Judah’s tribe was in ascendency. Judah, along with Benjamin, ruled the Southern Kingdom, including Jerusalem, while the other ten (Israel) comprised the Northern Kingdom.

Zebulun: This tribe’s lands touched the Phoenician coastline at Sidon and profited from its maritime traffic.

Issachar: Although a robust and hardy race, this group submitted to foreign invasion and servitude in exchange for dubious peace and prosperity.

Dan: Although the name means “to judge,” the tribe was constantly pressed by its warlike neighbors and would need to be a “viper on the road . . . so that the rider tumbles backwards.”

Gad were a tribe of nomads; Asher settled in productive land along the coast and became famous for its olive oil; and Naphtali, on the Sea of Galilee, flourished like a tree with lovely branches or, fluent with words and artistic achievement.

Joseph: Still the favorite, he is singled out as the “prince among his brethren.” Jacob bestowed on Joseph the blessings of the eternal (“the heaven above…the deep that lurks below…the everlasting pools…the bounty of the eternal hills”), and his own blessing as his successor. However, Jacob described Joseph as a “fruitful tree . . . with branches climbing over the wall,” since Joseph’s tribe will disappear into the tribes of his sons, Ephraim and Manasseh.

Benjamin: Unfortunately, the beloved child of Jacob’s old age, evolved into a warlike small tribe of raiders and marauders.

After Jacob finished speaking, he made a last request to his sons that, on his death, he be returned to Canaan and buried in the cave at Machpelah along with Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, and Leah.

Submitted by Karilyn Jaap

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Lenten study "Nooma", Sunday, April,10 at 9am in the Guild room

NOOMA is a series of short films (10-14 min) that explore our world from a perspective of Jesus. Jesus lived with the awareness that God is doing something, right here, right now, and anybody can be a part of it. Wherever he went, whatever he did, Jesus started discussions about what matters most, because for Jesus, God is always inviting us to open our eyes and join in.

About the video "Today" for Sunday, April 10
How much time and energy do we spend wishing things were how they used to be? We often think about times in our past when things were different and want our lives to be like that again. Some of us have even come to believe that our best days may actually be behind us. But if we're in some way hung up on the past, what does that mean for our lives now? How are we and those around us affected if we're not fully present? If we're longing for the way things used to be, what does that really say about our understanding and appreciation of our lives today? Maybe we need to learn to embrace our past for what it is, in order to live our lives to the fullest, right here, right now.

For email subscribers, please click on to watch a short 2 min preview.

From the mens' bible study, April 5

EZEKIEL 37: 1-14 Ezekiel (God strengthens)

“Put together dem bones, Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones. Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones. Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones. Now hear the word of the Lord.” The melody was written by African-American author and songwriter James Weldon Johnson (1871–1938). The gist of this song is related to the passage from Ezekiel 37 about some very dry bones. The Spiritual was focusing on a different party of exiles from Africa feeling out of it in the United States. The music has been recorded by many artists: Delta Rhythm Boys, Fats Waller, Four Lads, Lennon Sisters, Mills Brothers, Rosemary Clooney, The Wiggles (my favorite group); in the musical Li'l Abner, the political satire song "The Country is in The Very Best of Hands" contains a long passage from Dem Bones which was rewritten to be about politicians sitting around on their "thigh bones." It contains lines like "the nominee's connected to the treasury."

Ezekiel was a prophet who was shipped off to Babylon in 597 BC from the Kingdom of Judah. At this time Judah was a weak vassal state subjugated to Egypt and Babylonia. There was a lot of intrigue and political back and forth with the rulers of Egypt and Babylon dictating who was King in Judah. When they got angry with their vassal King, they would ship more folks from Judah to Babylon or Egypt. Ezekiel was trying to keep the exile flock together in a town called Tel-abib, Babylon. Ezekiel chapters 33 to 48 have a message of hope, restoration Israel, and the establishment of a new Kingdom of God.

A valley of bones is shown to Ezekiel; these bones have been there for a long, long time. The bones are a metaphor about Israel in its dark days of captivity. In a discourse God asks Ezekiel about the bones, “can these bones live?” Ezekiel plays it out with a response that only God knows. The broader explanation is will the Nation of Israel come back to life? God tells Ezekiel to prophesy to the bones (Tell the exiles in Tel abib and in Judah not to loose hope). Jeremiah was a contemporary of Ezekiel, but his home base was in Judah. Both these prophets noted the downfall and spiritual low point in the Jewish communities. The people were drifting away from Torah; some had found new life in the exiled lands. Ezekiel was not a popular figure in the exile community; however, his words brought hope and potential to the campfires and foreign residences. The final words in the lesson say it all:
“Thus says the Lord GOD: I am going to open your graves and bring you up from your graves, O my people. And I will bring you back to the land of Israel. And you shall know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves, and bring you from your graves, O my people. And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own soil. Then you shall know that I, the LORD I have spoken, and I will do it, declares the LORD."
We can find comfort in Ezekiel today as exiles in different ways and places. Connect them bones!

ROMANS 8: 6-11
Paul was rejected or coolly received by many of the Jewish-Christians in Jerusalem (He was arrested on a visit to Jerusalem); he was more welcomed by the gentile Christians in Greece, Macedonia, and in Rome. Letter to the Romans was written in approximately 56 AD in Corinth, 20 years after Paul’s conversion. Many scholars give Romans the rank of the greatest of Paul’s writings based on the value of its teaching and clear thought. It was written as a letter to new Christians in Rome. This enclave of new Christians was not founded by Paul. In this relatively short passage, William Barley’s commentary explains Paul’s discourse as two principals of life. Living in a worldly life that is self-centered, focused on pride, ambition, lust, wealth, and self-gratification. Paul tells the Roman Christians not to live that life, but go for the spiritual life that endures. Be filled with the spirit of God to do the will of God that brings life more abundantly than you can ever imagine.

John 11: 1-45
John’s gospel is the more allegorical interpretation of the Christ story. Scholars date this Gospel to around 90 AD, written by Saint John at Ephesus. His purpose is not the history of Jesus’ life; rather, it is to show evidence that Jesus is Messiah, Son of God. As we move along in our Lenten journey, we have had John’s Gospel about Jesus and Nicodemus, Jesus and the Samaritan Woman, Jesus and a blind beggar. In each case the explanation and discussions are detailed and can be viewed with several levels of consideration, not just the face value. In looking at all of these stories, we can see divinity, compassion, understanding, and misunderstanding. This reading is a story that is found only in John’s Gospel. In this story, Peter (ad hoc leader of the disciples is absent, perhaps some issues?).

This reading is about Jesus and his buddies: Lazarus, Martha, and Mary. These are folks that were important friends, providing Jesus a place to get away, hang out, and be himself. Considering the road that Jesus traveled, R & R was a very precious gift and these three people were important to Jesus.

Mary and Martha send a message to Jesus that Lazarus (God is my Help) was gravely ill. After two days, Jesus sets out to go to see Lazarus in Bethany, in the region of Judea, Jesus had angered the Jewish authorities in Judea so this was in the minds of the his disciples, there was risk of bodily harm or even being stoned to death. Jesus took no heed to their concerns. His response in modern language was, I have a job to do, regardless of the risk, I am going forward with my work. The disciples again question the need and try to weasel out of risky trip to Judea. Thomas comes to the rescue and shows bold leadership. He says, “we need to go and die with him.” Bethany is a short distance from Jerusalem; the final events leading to Good Friday are unfolding.
The next part of the story confirms the Messiah. Jesus knew that he had the power to deal with what was wrong with Lazarus; Mary and Martha were disappointed that Lazarus had died and scolded Jesus for not coming sooner. Mary and Martha initially express disappointment, but are swayed by Jesus to have faith and believe in the Son of God. They testify, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the son of God.” The grief of Mary, the realization that the miracle that he would work with Lazarus would lead to the cross, crucifixion, and glorification disturbed Jesus greatly (Jesus wept). Jesus, Mary, Martha and a crowd of mourners trek to the tomb and Jesus tells them to remove the stone opening to the tomb. The folks are still skeptical, reluctant to move the stone because of stinking flesh and that Lazarus had been dead for four days. They move the rock, Jesus confirms with God his mission and out walks Lazarus. In curing Lazarus, Jesus secured his road to the cross and resurrection. When the news reached the Sanhedrin and the Temple leaders, they understood that they had no choice if they wanted to hold on to their power and privileges.

I think it is interesting that Ezekiel’s prophesy about a dead in spirit nation and Jesus raising Lazarus bring to us a similar message that includes hope, love, and possibilities. Both of these passages have a theme of resurrection.

Thanks for the good discussion on Wednesday and commentaries by William Barclay (Romans and John) and J.R. Dummelow (Ezekiel); Dem Bones musical information courtesy of Wikipedia.
Submitted by Walt Jaap

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Women of the Word, March 31

Genesis Chapters 46-48

God told Jacob to leave his home and travel up into Egypt. Jacob was assured that God would go with him. This was a new concept in that God could "move away" and be mobile. Jacob and his descendants left Beersheba with all their wives, children and livestock. Seventy in all went to Egypt. The number seven is repeatedly seen often in many cultures. It implies "completeness".

We learn that all shepherds were normally detested by Egyptians so they would live separately from the Egyptians. Jacob and his family settled in Goshen in the northeastern part of Egypt.
There occurred a long famine and Joseph was able to sell food to the Egyptians and they in turn gave him their money and their livestock so they could eat. They even agreed to give Joseph their land and told him they would work for Pharoah. Joseph gave them seed to sow and told the people that when the crops came in, one-fifth should be given to Pharoah. The Israelites settled in Egypt, acquired property and increased their numbers by many.
Jacob called Joseph to him to tell him that God made a promise to him that Joseph would be very fruitful and have many descendants. Jacob blessed two of Joseph's sons, Ephraim and Manasseh (who had been born in Egypt.)
The greater blessing was given to the younger son, Ephraim, which was contrary to custom. This displeased Joseph but Jacob argued that Ephraim's descendants would be greater than Mannasseh's
We will see how racial purity will become so important as we read on.

Submitted by Vicky Steinwender