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Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church
December 8, 1998
Rev. Daris S. Bultena

2nd Sunday of Advent

Old Testament Lesson: Isaiah 11:1-10
New Testament Lesson: Romans 15:4-13
Gospel Lesson: Matthew 1:18-25, Luke 2:1-5

Learning to Trust
JOSEPH: THE MAN OF TRUST

Oh mother, just calm down for a minute. Just listen to me. Let me talk. ....Don't "now Joey" me. I am 28 years old. My name is not Joey. Its Joseph. Joseph. Alright Mom---its Joseph. The name you gave me. ...I know Mother....I know....I can hear that you are not happy. I know you are very disappointed in me. I know....okay, okay Mother.... ....alright, fine, fine them---fine I am a disgrace to the entire family. I should be ashamed---fine, then---okay as you like---I am ashamed. I am the shame of the entire family. Fine.

No---Mom---I'm not being smart---its just you are doing that whole guilt thing to me again. I know. I know we are respectable people. I know you and Dad have worked hard to provide us with everything we need. I know...

......but, but, but Mom you just have to trust me. You have to trust me that Dad has made the right decision about me and Mary. Its all going to work out. It will. I know....I know you don't understand but I did not shame you by getting her pregnant. I didn't. It wasn't me; it really wasn't me. No...no, that's not all the more reason to drop her. It wasn't me and well it wasn't anybody else either.

Listen to me. I am not your Joey. I am a grown man--its Joseph. I work for a living. I'm following in Dad's footsteps---I?m a good builder. And I'm going to build a life with Mary.

Don't worry about the neighbors. You are too worried about what everyone else will think. Mary and I are solid on this. We are trusting in God.

Mom...listen to me....there's nothing to be ashamed of. Nothing to repent of.

Fine Mom. I'm a terrible son. I feel really guilty. You did it. Happy now?'

***

Oooyugh. My mother. I love her so much. But she just does not understand. But then, how can she? Truth be told, I really don't understand either. Not completely. That's for sure. Its probably the main thing that I am sure about and that's that I am not sure about many things. The Rabbi---the rabbi says that's why we need God. God is our sure thing. We are unsure. God is sure. We don't understand, but God understands us. That should be written down on a scroll and I should carry it to remind me. "I don't understand, but God understands me." Good words. Thank you Rabbi, and thank you God. Because I don't understand. And apparently you know that God. That must be why you sent me that visitor. I was ready to do as mother advises. To quietly walk away from the whole situation and be done with Mary. It really seemed the right thing to do. Even the only thing to do. I didn't want to shame her; I didn't want to shun her.

I like her; I may even love her someday. But what was I to do. Then, O Lord, then I had that dream. I may have been awake when I had it. I had not slept for day. I had been praying and praying, and like my mother worrying and worrying. Worrying about her even. Ooough.

The dream Lord---the dream where you told me it would work. Where I heard you tell me to take her as my wife. That she was bearing a child I would name Jesus. The God with us. O God, I don't understand. But you understand me. You know my confusion. You know my doubts. You know my concerns. You know my weakness. O God, my God---I take my refuge in you. I hear your Words from the Prophet. Our prophet Isaiah, I pray those words YHWH: "Surely God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid, for the Lord God is my strength and my might; he has become my salvation."

I trust in you. I trust in the promise that you understand me even where I don't understand myself. Give my your guidance to accept this and live joyously in it. "I will trust and will not be afraid, for the Lord God is my strength and my might."

***

Its so cold. I should have known this trip was a bad idea for her. But I did not want to leave her in the house with my mother alone overnight. Not a good plan. Mother dear still cannot accept what is happening.

I can not even find a good room for her to sleep in. There are so many people in the city tonight. The place is booming. The inns usually are crowded, but especially now there's nothing. Thanks to the hospitality of good God loving people we are out of the cold of the night. But there is no fire in this outer room were the animals sleep on the hay. This will work for the night. Tomorrow I must get Mary home though---this baby is coming soon. The pains she is feeling---I'm no midwife. But those pains---I think that means the baby will be along soon. Hopefully we have a few days. There is no point in worrying about it. If the baby is to come now-- then by God's mercy so be it. If the baby is to come in the comforts of Nazareth--then by God's mercy so be it.

O Lord, I submit this to you. I shall not worry about it. I shall trust in you. I am thankful to you Great God and I submit by prayer this to you. I rejoice in you. I rejoice in you, O Lord God. You are near. I can feel your peace. O Lord God of creation I pray for your peace for Mary. She is restless, and the pains grow closer together. She is wrestles. Give her your peace. May her heart rejoice. May she feel such joy over the baby that she is carrying and about to deliver. Help her to trust in you. Help her to feel what you have taught me: that you understand me, even when I don't understand what's happening in life. O Lord God of creation I pray for Momma---I pray for peace for her. She is so troubled about this---she worries so much. Help her not to. She doesn't need to. You will give to Mary and I and this baby all we need. Help Momma to understand that it will be enough---that your grace is sufficient. O Lord I want her to rejoice and feel the peace I feel with this. I trust in you. I offer you myself. I will do as you ask; as you want. I shall name the child Jesus.

You know Lord, I am nothing special - just ordinary old Joe. But you know Lord, were someone to remember me what I would want them to remember is just that----that no mater what happens we can trust in you. You know "Great and mighty one" that's really hard to do. We want to fix everything. We want a solution to all our troubles and we want it right now. Not tomorrow, not next month - we want it fixed now. But Jehovah,it doesn't work that way now does it----no, life is more of a process - it's a knowing that you are there. It's a feeling that you are out there right on the edge - balancing - but never will I never will we fall because you are the balance. I need to remember that when it comes to trusting God remember that God is the balance. Oh yes, God!YOU are my balance. I shall lean on you for you are with me. God with Me. I trust in you. I have your peace in my heart.

***

Mary, Mary---what do mean its happening NOW!? O Lord! O Lord my God.....

Amen.