Joseph, Lent, A Hand

Yesterday was our midweek midday service in this third week of Lent and I read the story of Joseph from Matthew 1 as part of our worship. The reason for this sudden intrusion of Christmas into Lent is because March 19 is St. Joseph’s Day. Even at Christmas time Joseph doesn’t get a lot of attention, so it felt nice to look at him with some consideration.Joseph1
The tradition within the Roman Catholic Church for some is that Joseph was an older man whose wife had died and who married Mary later in his life. The sons and daughters we read about in Mark would then be from Joseph’s first marriage. This keeps Mary a perpetual virgin. That isn’t a necessary theological issue to me and when it says, in Matthew, that they didn’t consummate the marriage until after the birth of her first born, I’m willing to go with the plain reading there. I’m comfortable with Mary and Joseph having children after the birth of Jesus – four other boys and some number of girls (never noted nor named).
I’ve also noticed in the theology of some of my more conservative Protestant friends a need for Jesus’ education to have come directly from spiritual sources. In other words, Jesus knew what he knew because he was God and not because he grew and learned as a human being. That’s not necessary to me either. I’m comfortable with Jesus “growing in wisdom…” as it says in Luke and that this included gaining influence from parents. His time with the teachers of the law in the temple at the age of 12 tells us that they were impressed by his “questions” which also suggests learning to me.
Growing up in a household where the boys are named after Jewish rebels (the Maccabees) in a land still occupied by the forces rebelled against, should have created some kind of influence. If you’re going to put it out there that much, you’re probably going to talk with some comparable attitude around the dinner table. What was that like for Jesus? How human was Jesus? Completely, like we say in our doctrine, or just sort of, like we imply in conversations when we want to be authoritative with unbelievers?
Did his Dad speak into his heart and life? Walking the 4-5 miles to the construction site in Sephora, the town near Nazareth that was being built throughout the lifetime of Jesus and a likely worksite for a carpenter… did Joseph and this eldest boy walk there and back together and talk about life, work, construction methods, actors, the poor, the rich, farmers, slaves, soldiers, nature… why would the joy of learning be denied our Savior who came as one of us? There is a means of understanding fully that may be within the realm of divinity that doesn’t dismiss the act of acquiring the pieces that is so fundamental to our humanity.Joseph3
So, kind of nice to have Joseph show up in Lent and remind us that a remarkable dad once stood alongside a remarkable boy, and that with humble strength each shouldered remarkable responsibility for the sake of the rest of us. That deserves my acknowledgement, I think. And it walks me toward the cross.
Blessings,
Geoff

2 responses to “Joseph, Lent, A Hand

  1. really really good. Loved reading this. Call me after your lunch….

  2. Marlyn Buehler

    Thanks, Geoff.

    Marlie

    On 3/20/14 11:48 AM, “Crediting Marvels” wrote:

    > geesskay posted: ” Yesterday was our midweek midday service in this third week > of Lent and I read the story of Joseph from Matthew 1 as part of our worship. > The reason for this sudden intrusion of Christmas into Lent is because March > 19 is St. Josephs Day. Even at Chris” >

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