Short Meds in Getting Ready in Covid-Advent: 22. Limited
Mt 1:19 “Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.”
I suspect there may be those who came to the end of yesterday’s study and rather like some of Jesus’ early disciples said, “This is a hard word,” (Jn 6:60) the call to enter into Spirit-empowered living and ministry, so different from so much of what we find in the modern church. I understand. So let’s see what we can learn from these verses.
Joseph struggles (and we’ll consider that more fully tomorrow) and the source of his struggles is the demand of the Law which now confronts the events surrounding him. But here’s the point I want us to take hold of here: Joseph lacks understanding, he has only a part picture of what is going on. What he sees is not right, it offends the Law and so, being a gracious person, he wants to back away from it gently so as not to disgrace Mary. But the crucial thing is that he hasn’t yet had the revelation Mary has had. When he does get it, he conforms to it straight away.
Many people in ‘the Church’ are fearful when, for example, we start talking about Spirit-empowered living or ministry or moving in gifts of the Spirit or gifts of ministry. I understand that but as I have watched church life across a wide number of denominations and streams over the years here are some of the things I hope will help.
First, none of this talk detracts from us being human beings and so sometimes these things are not handled sensitively or wisely, I know that; I’ve seen it. But I also know that when they are handled sensitively and wisely there is a beauty and wonder when we respond as Mary with open, gentle hearts, making ourselves available to Him to flow through us, bringing new life, supernatural life. If we don’t live these sort of lives, experience this sort of ministry, I would suggest it is because we are in still in early-Joseph-mode with limited understanding and experience and we just can’t see how healings, deliverances and all the rest can come into ‘my’ church.
I wonder how often so many of us live limited lives because we have only partly seen the divine picture. This year has been turning everything on its head and so we each really need to pray, “Lord, please open my eyes that I may see AND understand.” I am certain we will be facing days when the Lord will be coming in power (I don’t think it is in the sky) and what we experience will depend in some measure on our openness. Let’s pray.