Sunday, January 2, 2011

Joseph's Dilemma

Dream of Joseph by Rembrandt

This is the short sermon I gave at Morning Prayer at the Episcopal Church of the Saviour in Clermont, Iowa on December 19, 2010

Scripture: Matthew 1:18-25

Yesterday, we heard the Bishop's take on today's readings. I'm not even going to come close to the wisdom that he shared with us, but his message raised some thoughts and questions with me.

What we have heard here in today's Gospel is Joseph’s story. The struggle of a good and righteous man, the struggle to come to terms with the fact his fiance is pregnant and that he is not the Father.

The truth, though, is that this pregnancy was only a part of Josephs dilemma.

The rest of the dilemma lay in the fact that God may have a place for Joseph, a place that only Joseph could fill.

Joseph, despite being a man of faith, could not believe that God would want anything to do with him, and his simple life.

He couldn’t believe that this living God that he worshiped regularly every Sabbath day would want anything to do with his tiny little life.

In God's eyes he saw himself as insignificant; after all, he was just a carpenter wasn’t he? Just your normal everyday person, he wasn’t anyone special was he?

If he was on God's chessboard, he would not have even considered himself to be a pawn worthy of sacrifice.

How dense could he be, how stupid could Joseph be to actually think that this Living God could not use Joseph?

How idiotic could Joseph be to think that God could not find a part for him.

I think we are all pretty stupid times.

We can all be rather dense like just like Joseph.

We may not face the dilemma that Joseph did.

But as a people of faith we often just can’t believe that God would want anything to do with us, and our simple lives.

After all we are nothing special either.

We often can not believe that this living God that we worship would want anything to do with our contribution.

We see ourselves as insignificant as Joseph saw himself.

How can we be so silly?

What Joseph needed was a wake up call, something to bring him back to his senses.

I am glad to say that as Joseph tortured himself over this dilemma. God gave him a wake up call.

One night an angel came to him in a dream, an angel that set the alarm bells ringing in Josephs life. An angel that gave him a wake up call, an angel that told Joseph that God did have a place for him.

It took an angel to convince Joseph of his importance to God.

What is it going to take for you?

What will it take for you to wake up and realize how important you are to God?

What sort of alarm call will it take?

I will leave you these questions for you to ponder as we pray:

Dear God of all,

May you help us, the people, your people gathered here today. To find what you would want us to do so we can become an advent people. Not just to wait for you, but to discern what you have in store for us and to go out and do your will. In your Holy Name. In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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