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Joseph - raising good men
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Joseph - raising good men
Joseph a solid man and in a blur decisive but not afraid to change his mind. Brave kind a man of faith.
That's how our Bible group that Mets after church. Last Sunday, describes Joseph, As We examined today's reading, We're looking this Advent at different characters of the Christmas story and today is Joseph Stern.
And so, in order to understand Joseph, we've read Matthews version of the birth of Jesus. Our gospel writers, Luke, and Matthew give us quite different versions of the birth stories. We always conflate them in our minds and in our minds to their added to liberally with details. That actually aren't there from Christmas carols and Christmas cards and traditional crib scenes.
Matthew has the angel appearing to Joseph, the wise men bearing gifts and the escape to Egypt. Luke has the angel appearing to marry the travel to Bethlehem the Shepherds and the angels The two stories are quite different and we did our best in our discussion last week, to stick with Matthews version and not bring in assumptions from Luke, but that actually proved quite difficult, we kept on wanting to say, well Mary would have done this or that and then we have to remember that that was from Luke's version because we discovered in Matthews version, that Mary is silent. Mary has no power Everything is done to her, not by her.
Now, for those feminists out there, never fear next week, we're back with Luke and we'll see Mary and quite a different light but Matthews version is a realistic portrait of the life of a woman in first century Palestine.
Women belonged to their fathers and then their husbands and they were at their complete Mercy. Joseph and Mary are engaged which means they are legally bound to each other but they are not yet married, not yet living together.
So when Joseph discovers that Mary has pregnant, he would have been expected to denounce her to the community, and to call for her death by stoning.
He chooses not to take that route and plans to dissolve the engagement which would have still left her as an unmarried pregnant woman as an outcast but possibly she would have still been alive.
But before he gets to do that, Joseph has a dream and an angel appears to him telling him to take Mary as his wife and our discussion. We appreciated that Joseph was willing to change his mind. He was willing not to listen to the prevailing worldview, but seek his own counsel, and he was willing to risk public ridicule in order to follow the instructions of the angel We call to mind another Joseph, the son of Jacob from The Book of Genesis, who was also blessed with dreams. That Joseph was sold into slavery by his jealous, Brothers ends up in Egypt and interprets his own dreams, and the dreams of the Pharaoh, thus saving the people of Egypt from famine.
He also saves his family, who are reconciled with him?
Matthew's Joseph is told to name his son Jesus for he will save his people from their sins because Jesus can be said to mean God Saves. So we realized that Matthews Joseph was bringing to mind Joseph from The Book of Genesis as well and Matthews readers would have had those echoes in their mind as they learnt the story of Joseph.
Now while Joy stuff might not be Jesus, biological father, he is father to him in every other way and particular he names him which has his right as his father and in biblical writing the power to name is always significant. And so, Matthew is careful to tell us that Joseph names Jesus when he is born. So Joseph is Resolute. He acts decisively, he acts with compassion, and Here he needs advice. He follows the call of God given to him by the Angel and the words of the prophet. Isaiah Joseph, we decided is a good man.
We are today. Do we get our guidance from? How do we make good decisions? How do we raise good men? Like Joseph.
This week, there's been a lot of discussion about violence in our community as a result of the murder of tourist Grace Mullane. The light of judgment has shown on our very bad track record as a country in terms of violence, generally, but in particular, partner violence and family violence.
It just so happened that this week, a major government report has also been released its called every four minutes because there is a police or Child Protection, notification of Family, Violence on average every four minutes in our country.
It's a mind-blowing figure and in Kruger impossible to comprehend and utterly disgraceful.
But maybe the fact that thousands of people this week, attended vigils, and memory of Grace Mullane and a memory of the other women murdered in the last year is perhaps a sign that maybe we're really ready to take stock and bring about change.
There's been lots of conversations of course on social media and many people in the beginning, offered the comment about what women can't and shouldn't be doing. Maybe Grace and other one, young woman like her should not be traveling alone. Should not have been going out alone, but they've been soundly condemned in the replies. I think it's men that should not be violent towards women.
But at least we're talking about it. The conversation is happening. The government report that I mentioned States preventing Family.
Violence is very simple and very complicated day to day. It's about not ignoring the way, your friends partner, behaves towards her, or not judging the disruptive kid at school and just wanting and kicked out.
It's about reflecting on our beliefs and our relationships. It's about reflecting on who is responsible for family well-being in our community.
This affects every single one of us.
Some of you sitting here today will have suffered from violence.
Some of you will have committed, the sin of being violent towards another person.
We are all collectively responsible for the way our society is.
And we can all be proactive challenge things that we see in our extended families and workplaces anything from small comments that belittle women too, of course, outright violence. And then that need that some people have to control another The Christmas dinner table with extended family is often a place that we see or hear things that we managed to avoid all year because we don't see those family members this year is the year to call it out.
We need to encourage our boys to be compassionate and caring.
And we need to encourage our girls to be strong and confident.
I often tell the story about my father, when I was growing up, he worked in the government Department, that was called, the department of Industries and commerce, which included the overseas trade commissioner service. And I can often remember him telling us at the dinner table about when a woman was first appointed as a trade, commissioner, or when women were being promoted to more senior positions and I can remember not really being very interested, it just seemed like boring stuff from the office.
I realized years later that he was giving my sister, and I role models to Aspire to And he also always made the point when we went on holiday. He said we can afford this holiday because of the salary that your mother earns. He always said that when we went on holiday again, he was modeling respect and showing us the way.
I thought of him this week because our daughter Hannah graduated with a master's degree in international trade and she gained her first promotion at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and trade, he would have been incredibly proud I'm not a mother of boys, but I know parents of boys who teach respect and care and a very open and obvious way.
We can make a difference from conversations at the dinner table to conversations at work. We can act and we can make change and we can seek help if we need to change ourselves. And we don't know how We can offer help to others.
Joseph listened to the inner guidance of the spirit, Joseph was able to change and Step Beyond what was normal for his time.
He cared for Mary, he nurtured Jesus.
He raised a good man.
We can do that too.
The collect for Saint. Joseph goes like this God our guardian and protector. You called Joseph to share in the nurture of Jesus.
Give us Grace to be faithful. Carers of those entrusted to us.