x Joseph’s obedience


His fiancée was pregnant and it wasn’t his doing.  We can see how much this must have hurt him when we understand that, though he had every right to have Mary stoned to death, he opted to divorce her quietly and out of public view.  He loved Mary.  To see her pregnant by someone else must have hurt tremendously.

His decision to divorce is also an indication of his love for God–for no righteous man could rightfully marry such an “unclean” woman and still be considered a man of God.  But then the angel Gabriel fills Joseph in on the plan and Joseph faithfully takes Mary as his wife just as God requests; even though he too, along with Mary, will face the scorn of the community.  Joseph loved God.

Throughout the story of Christmas Joseph, time and again, is faithful to carry out the will of God.  He takes Mary as his wife, he moves his wife and young child to Egypt and then later to Nazareth (where Jesus became known as a “Nazarene”).

It’s striking to me the parallels between Joseph’s treatment of Mary and Jesus’ actions toward the woman caught in adultery, as well as his other response toward women.  Both responded with compassion and concern for the woman above and before the letter of the law.  Both raised the women around them up above what the surrounding culture practiced and, perhaps, what was thought to be appropriate.  Perhaps both were looking to the God of the law and understood the law of love as above and before any other law.  Perhaps Jesus, as a young boy, learned a thing or two from his father, Joseph.

Nicely done, Joseph.

Love and Lewis, part one


Quote #1

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”

C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

Looking at James


Despite the misgivings of Martin Luther, the letter of James has always been one of my favorite books of the Bible.  I did not know until recently, however, that I was in good company.  It seems that noted theologian Soren Kierkegaard “is probably the only person who in on record as having regarded the first chapter of the letter of James as his favourite portion of Scripture” (James:  A Commentary in the Wesleyan Tradition, C. Jeanne Orjala Serrao, p. 23).

If we could boil the entire letter down to a single sentence it go something like this–Faith is not real unless it affects the way I live.

James offers to us an important reminder about the way we are to live in a rapidly changing and seeming increasingly hostile world.   It reminds us how to live as God’s chosen people among a majority people who were considered unclean, sinful and actively opposed to God’s reign.  It reminds us how to live as God’s people among our own people, those that also believe themselves to be God’s special, chosen people.
~Do Everything In Love

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