Posts Tagged ‘family’

He Was A Righteous Man

December 22, 2016

If someone were to describe you with a phrase, what would it be?

We have so few facts about Joseph, Jesus’ father. I took a speculative path recently about the trust issue. His first reaction to Mary’s pregnancy was distrust. He figured she had sex with another man. That happens often in today’s America. Back then…not so much.

But the writers say, Joseph, being a righteous man…

He had a vision. It complemented Mary’s vision. Must be God at work.

They formed a family. There were brothers in the house. They followed Jewish religious customers (we can infer because the writers say they went up to Jerusalem as was their custom for Passover.

They lived with Jesus for 30 years.

Yet, they didn’t figure him out.

Joseph disappears from the record after the trip to Jerusalem when Jesus was 12.

Mary pops up a few times, seldom in a supporting role.

James, a brother who like Jesus is steeped in Wisdom teaching, became a leader of the church–but not until after the resurrection.

Joseph was a righteous man who taught his sons well.

What will they say about us?

Visions Dancing In Their Heads Come Christmas

December 14, 2016

The “first Christmas” wasn’t Christmas, of course.

The celebration came years after the event. Christians had conquered Rome. An unthinkable event at the time of the events we celebrate. And then Christians conquered a big holiday by making it a celebration of Jesus’ birth. A triumph over paganism, if you will.

The phrase of the old poem recurs. “While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.”

Do you ever wonder what was “dancing in the heads” of Joseph and Mary? Maybe, “Please, God, allow us to have a safe child birth?” After all, child birth was a dangerous event in the life of a woman in those days. And they were not around supporting family (we think).

We know that there were many visions dancing in the heads of Jewish people at the time.

They expected a Messiah (Anointed One, King). But like all visions of the future, there were many competing versions.

Some thought King–as in replacement of King Herod with a real Jewish leader who would restore the empire.

Some thought prophet who could perform might acts of God–like an Ezekiel or Elijah.

Both Mary and Joseph had been given visions. What could have been dancing in their heads as the little boy was born? Certainly not what happened some 33 years later.

Jesus later explained from Scripture why it pointed to him (think the walk to Emmaus). But even today Jewish scholars dispute that reading of their Scriptures.

As we approach Christmas, what visions are dancing in your head? We each have our own. I hope more than candy.

Painting a Picture of a Functional Family

August 25, 2016

How do you read (study?) the Bible? Or other more challenging books?

Some seem to read through looking for a verse they agree with. Or perhaps a controversial one where they can speculate all day about what-ifs and could-bes.

I know a guy who was leading a discussion in Ephesians. Remember how at the end of Chapter 3, Paul prays for his listeners (readers) by asking three times that they be filled with God?

He proceeds then to talk about how to live this new life filled with God–or as it is called the “With-God” life.

Rather than talk about this new with-God life, he picked up on the verse which is a parenthetical statement about if Jesus ascended to heaven where all things would be under his feet then he must have descended to earth. Well, there is a theology about Jesus actually descending into Hell. They speculated on that for a while and considered the study of Ephesians done.

That’s a shame. What if we read chapters 4-6 not as a list of instructions (let’s just pull out the “wives submit to your husbands” to stand alone and build a philosophy?) but as Paul painting a picture of a spirit-filled person, a spirit-filled family, and a spirit-filled organization?

Read this section as a description of how I would be as a person Paul describes. How I would live. How I would live in community.

Imagine a family where everyone is looking out for the other person. There is no putting myself ahead of the others. No trying to be the “boss”. Yes, there is leadership, but not tyranny. Wow, what a great family.

Let’s take it another step–because Paul does.

What if we were in an organization where people developed their gifts with the encouragement of everyone else in the organization. And people, instead of competing against their fellow workers, worked to build up other people. Equipping them for ministry, as Paul said.

If it is a business, equipping them for developing products and services that serve the customer. If a church, preparing people to go out and serve and witness. If a non-profit, equipped to serve fulfilling the mission of the organization.

How much time, emotional energy, grief would we avoid if when we lived together in family, church, and business we approached it as spirit-filled people?

You can pull out all your little philosophies you want by parsing Paul’s words to suit your purposes. But go back and read this as a picture–a vision of how to live.