Psalm 95:6-11

Come, let us bow down, and bend the knee,
and kneel before the LORD our Maker.
For he is our God,
and we are the people of his pasture and the sheep of his hand.
Oh, that today you would hearken to his voice!
Harden not your hearts,
as your forebears did in the wilderness,
at Meribah, and on that day at Massah, when they tempted me
They put me to the test,
though they had seen my works.
Forty years long I detested that generation and said,
“This people are wayward in their hearts; they do not know my ways.”
So I swore in my wrath,
“They shall not enter into my rest.”


Today the Church celebrates the feast of St. Joseph. Though Joseph was Mary’s spouse and an earthly guardian of Jesus, we know very little about him. He never speaks in all of Scripture. We do know, however, that Joseph was righteous and obedient to God. When an angel came to him announcing the amazing news that his fiancée was pregnant by the Holy Spirit, Joseph trusted and obeyed God’s word. Later Joseph heeded the message of another angel and fled with Mary and the Christ child from the murderous wrath of Herod.

We hear nothing more about Joseph after Jesus’ childhood, but I am sure Joseph continued to love and care deeply for Mary and Jesus. Though Scripture tells us so little about Jesus’ early years, I imagine life was quite simple and ordinary in that home in Nazareth. Yet it was, of course, also suffused with the presence of the divine.

We are in the midst of exceptionally unique and challenging times. For many of us we are spending much more time at home than we are accustomed to. Sometimes that might feel like a blessing and other times it might feel maddening. It offers us, however, the opportunity to make our homes sacred places where we encounter God. It need not be difficult. God comes and meets us in the ordinary of our lives. We can start with the simple commitment to spend time in prayer each day. The words of Psalm 95, which for centuries have been used by Christians for prayer at the start of the day, offer us this invitation:

Come, let us bow down, and bend the knee,
and kneel before the Lord our Maker.
For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture and the sheep of his hand.
Oh, that today you would hearken to his voice!

Oh that today we would indeed hear God’s voice and trust that we are God’s children— loved, held, and protected by the one who created us and loves us fiercely.

God bless you,
Patrick+


O God, who from the family of your servant David raised up Joseph to be the guardian of your incarnate Son and the spouse of his virgin mother: Give us grace to imitate his uprightness of life and his obedience to your commands; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

(The Book of Common Prayer p. 239)


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