Thursday, March 19, 2009

St. Joseph's Day

Matthew 1:18-25
v. 24 When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, he took her as his wife...

A little intrusion into Lent as we remember Joseph, Jesus' earthly father.

The story is that when Mary was found to be pregnant, and Joseph knew the child was not his, he "planned to dismiss her quietly." It was a kind act. He could have made quite a fuss, even had her stoned under the law. But then he has a dream in which an angel appears to him and he learns the child is "Emmanuel, which means, 'God is with us.'" He is instructed to name him Jesus (in Hebrew, Joshua), which means "God saves."

Perhaps when you have a dream like that you truly aren't given any choice, you do as you are commanded, but then, it was only a dream, and Joseph still had a choice to make. He chose the more difficult path, chose what I would call the surprising vocation. He would participate in the Incarnation, the enfleshment of God.

We too are called to participate in the Incarnation. We are called to be part of the ongoing manifestation of God in the flesh. How we are to do that is first and foremost in the stuff of our daily lives, as messy as that might be. But God may indeed have a surprise for us as well, some way to serve that we hadn't considered before and perhaps would resist for all kinds of practical reasons. Unfortunately this will probably not come to us in the clarity of a dream (although I certainly don't want to preclue that possibility--dreams are powerful things). It will more likely be revealed to us in the midst of our life, but by a surprising voice either from within or from without, calling us to risk for the sake of the Gospel, to be a part of the Incarnation.

What surprising part do you have to play?

1 comment:

Cheryl said...

I am so glad to see that you are open to the possibility that God can talk to us in dreams. I think God is still talking to people in billions of different ways, just like in biblical times. God has talked audibly to people I know when they are driving their cars. He can talk to us when we are fully awake, folding the laundry. Because God likes to remain mysterious, I think He only does this in really drastic situations where He needs to turn our lives in a different direction. Urban Holmes reports a study in which 52% of people admit to having religious revelations. Add that to a statistic that 40% of Americans identify themselves as "Born Again Christians." I think many of these people find solace in those conservative churches that also talk about hell and think women are not important, because those churches also accept religious revelations. I think it can be scary to walk into a mainline church and say you had a religious revelation, because people might not believe you, or worse, they might think you are crazy. Why should one person's revelation be any more acceptable than anyone else's? I think sharing them could help us build up each others' faith.