Support the Café
Search our site

Speaking to the Soul: The other father

Speaking to the Soul: The other father

by Sarah Brock

Today’s Readings for the Feast of Saint Joseph
AM  Psalm 132; Isaiah 63:7-16
PM  Psalm 34; 2 Chronicles 6:12-17; Ephesians 3:14-21

Matthew 1:18-25

 

I wonder if sometimes we give Joseph the short end of the stick. We don’t really know all that much about him, our information coming primarily from the birth narratives of Jesus. I know I tend to focus mostly on the Blessed Virgin Mary and baby Jesus during the seasons of Advent and Christmas. In fact, I can’t say I’ve ever really thought much about Joseph at all. Have you?

 

And yet, here we have a man who must have had a great deal of influence in the early years of Jesus’ life. While Joseph may not be a prominent figure through the Gospels, he is clearly an enduring presence for his son. We see this in the ways that Jesus uses imagery of a loving father to talk about God, most likely a projection of his experience of the fatherhood of Joseph. Presumably, it’s in his own home that he first learned the meaning of father.

 

What strikes me most about Joseph, however, is not the seemingly quiet, consistent influence he held in shaping and forming Jesus. But rather, the way he chooses to trust God from the very beginning. Joseph is initially inclined to stay within the expectations of his society. When he learns of Mary’s pregnancy, in which he had no part, his makes plans to dismiss her. Quietly, with compassion, but stern rejection nonetheless. Mary’s pregnancy tarnishes her reputation making her something of an outcast, someone to avoid engaging. Then, just as his mind is made up, an angel appears in his dream with instructions which Joseph chooses to follow.

 

Joseph listens to the angel and takes Mary, a woman he should reject, as his wife. He offers her protection from disgrace and scandal. He becomes a father to her child, Jesus. He takes up his own role in the birth of Jesus, the incarnation of God.

 

Joseph causes me to wonder. How do I allow our society to dictate who I do and do not engage in relationship? Who do I reject on the basis of the expectations of my peers? How do I distance myself from or even prevent moments of birthing God into the world?

 

This week, Joseph is a reminder of what can happen when we open our lives up to the Divine. He is a reminder to look past the judgments society passes on an individual.

Joseph is a reminder that we can all participate in birthing Christ into the world.

 

 

 

 


Sarah Brock is becoming a postulant in the Diocese of Massachusetts and lives in Boston.

Image Credit: My own. Olive wood carving of Joseph, Mary, and baby Jesus.

Dislike (0)
Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

Café Comments?

Our comment policy requires that you use your real first and last names and provide an email address (your email will not be published). Comments that use non-PG rated language, include personal attacks, that are not provable as fact or that we deem in any way to be counter to our mission of fostering respectful dialogue will not be posted.

Facebooktwitterrss
Support the Café
Past Posts
2020_001

The Episcopal Café seeks to be an independent voice, reporting and reflecting on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican tradition.  The Café is not a platform of advocacy, but it does aim to tell the story of the church from the perspective of Progressive Christianity.  Our collective sympathy, as the Café, lies with the project of widening the circle of inclusion within the church and empowering all the baptized for the role to which they have been called as followers of Christ.

The opinions expressed at the Café are those of individual contributors, and, unless otherwise noted, should not be interpreted as official statements of a parish, diocese or other organization. The art and articles that appear here remain the property of their creators.

All Content  © 2017 Episcopal Café