St. Joseph's Day

Monday, March 19, 2018Matthew 1:18-25
       Saint Joseph's Day—I didn't know, until yesterday, that March 19th is the Feast Day for Mary's Husband and Jesus' Stepfather. We didn't recognize feast days in the Methodist church of my childhood, nor do we in our United Church of Christ, Congregational Church. But Joseph is a special man in the story of Jesus' coming.
       This is what we know from Matthew's telling: Joseph had plans; he and Mary had plans before Jesus. He married Mary anyway, that's the feel of the text, even knowing that she was pregnant, but he had plans. He was a nice guy, you could say, not wanting to ridicule Mary in public. He had plans, but fell asleep and dreamed. In the dream an angel of the Lord changed Joseph's plans. And Joseph named Jesus, as if Jesus were his son.
      Less than two week until Good Friday, and the Lectionary writers point to young man Joseph and that baby who will be the man accused, but who had plans. Joseph couldn't have planned for that.
      Besides Mary, Joseph ranks first among people who accept Jesus. We must imagine much of the story after his acceptance—about his occupation, about the first family trip back home or was it to Egypt? We must imagine that trip when Jesus was 12, and somehow Jesus is left behind in the Jerusalem Temple. (I imagine they had more children by that point, and the "I thought he was with you," volleyed between mother and stepfather as they bee-lined back.) Then radio silence on Joseph. Is Jesus with Joseph when he dies? Does Jesus confide in this man who trusted God's plans more than his own?
      Do you trust God more than your own plans? Good question for St. Joseph's Day.
      Prayer: Holy One, fill our dreams with your unfathomable revelations. Give us courage to embrace the love that you offer and interject into our life plans. Amen.

                                                                                                                                                                           Rev. Ashley 

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