Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Advent 1.6 - Risking for Others

This is from Part 3 of the RevGals Advent Retreat (see sidebar for a beautiful reflection by LutheranChik), a reflection on Joseph and his response to Mary's pregnancy:

. . . whatever Joseph's thoughts and the end he, like Mary, accepted the angel's challenge to not be afraid. Like Mary, Joseph said "yes" to God. And Joseph said "yes" to Mary in a way that models what it means to be a person for others, someone whose love is willing to take risks on behalf of the lives of other human beings.

And this is for those for whom the church year is beginning and the secular year is coming to a close in a context of terrible sadness and grief:

We can try to be someone for others.

I know of at least two women who have lost/are losing beloved partners this season, leaving them to raise young daughters alone. My father, who has been widowed three times, has told me that it was actually easier when he was younger and had small children to care for than when he was much older and the children and their families were dispersed and caring for themselves. I have the feeling that his definition of "easier" is quite broad and may indicate more about the vagaries of memory than it does about what his reality was, but nevertheless, there it is: trying to be a person for others.

Last year someone told me that it meant a great deal to her to see me in worship leadership during the holidays, knowing that I was experiencing them as she was. I relate that not to pretend that I am some kind of person that I am not, but only to indicate that sometimes in just barely showing up we are people for others, whether we know it or not.

It doesn't sound particularly risky, I suppose, to be the dad who gets up and scrambles eggs every morning after his wife has died, or the leader who opens a Bible at a lectern in a safe and warm church after her child has died. It doesn't sound risky unless you have been there, filled with fear for all of your loved ones and anxiety about the next minute, hour, and day.

For all who are there now: the angel doesn't tell Joseph that it will be easy. The angel tells him that he is called to be a person for others. As are we all.


Rosa said...

I've been thinking a lot about Joseph this Advent. A few years ago, I came across something written by Max Lucado. I am very uncomfortable with much that he writes and says but he's written something called, "Joseph's Prayer." The part I that really moved me was towards the end:

"Any minute now Mary will give birth. Not to a child, but to the Messiah. Not to an infant, but to God. That’s what the angel said. That’s what Mary believes. And, God, my God, that’s what I want to believe. But surely you can understand; it’s not easy. It seems so

I’m unaccustomed to such strangeness, God. I’m a carpenter. I make things fit. I square off the edges. I follow the plumb line. I measure twice before I cut once. Surprises are not the friend of a builder. I like to know the plan. I like to see the plan before I begin.

But this time I’m not the builder, am I?"

Your post is another window into Joseph's part of the story. Thank you.

Lisa :-] said...

I'm going to blog about this later this evening...