Essential Workers at the Cross

Who was essential at the cross?

Not Peter or John, Matthew or Mark.

Simon was essential: when Jesus could no longer carry the cross, Simon, a common laborer, with the strength to do the manual labor, the construction, the carrying of an essential item to where it needed to be. Simon was essential.

So were the two criminals who hung by the cross. Worthless and killed for being heretics, these two were essential for having the existential and theological conversation about who was saved and who wasn’t, and when was it too late to be saved.

The Centurion, and the common prison guards, were essential, they were the first to realize Jesus was the Son of God after he died. These workers in prison were essential.

Joseph of Arimathea, was essential. He gave up his own burial place, and risked his own death by the officials, boldly asking Pilate for the body, revealing what he believed and why. Then Joseph and Nicodemus polluted themselves–wrapping the dead body with their own hands, and using Nicodemus own mixed spices to move Jesus to the tomb. These men who put down politics to work with the dead were essential.

The women were essential. The women were sent, because they were thought to be harmless. Women prepared Jesus for the tomb with the wrappings and the spices to hide the bad smell. They entered the grave, where the guards watched–socially distant–to make certain no mischief was done. Women were the worthless but essential workers of the day.

Who was essential at the cross? Who did the work that needed to done? Who carried, cleaned, buried, wept, wrapped and worshipped?

Help us to pray and remember and rejoice in all of the essential workers we pray. Amen.

Pandemic Prayers

Building the #Nativity: (#christmas) Mary & Joseph

There are very few pictures of Mary and Joseph that are not Joseph pulling Mary on the Donkey for Bethlehem.

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We aren’t there yet, though.

Besides, they aren’t Even LOOKING at each other!

But I can tell that Mary and Joseph aren’t really pictured before Jesus. Even though, they had some kind of relationship as they were engaged. Let’s face it, Mary and Joseph probably were from the same small town and knew each other really well, no matter how well they knew each other.

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So this week we filled in the first characters by telling of when Gaberial tells Mary and then Joseph about Jesus coming. Its interesting because as the artwork shows, we clearly do not picture them together.

There are two distinctly similar portions to these accounts. The first of which were that Mary and Joseph were the afraid.

Can you imagine how they each felt seeing an angel? How worried they were about this unknown, and surprising child? Jesus Christ is probably the most surprising child ever!!

No wonder they were afraid.

Today is also the Hope week of Advent. You know what hope is? ITs saying yes when you don’t know what will happen.

That’s Mary and Joseph.

That’s parenthood too, when you have a child you don’t really know what is going to happen.

My mom remembers women who swore they would come back to work after having a baby, and then realize they couldn’t stay home. Then she knew others who were trying to stay home who were going crazy and needed to go back to work. This taught her that parenthood is one of those things you have ideas about, but you don’t really know until you get there.

And even if you have a partner in parenting, that person wouldn’t necessarily parent the same way. In fact sometimes what works for one parent doesn’t work for the other.

In a way we are all Mary and Joseph, trying to figure out how to relate to Christ. Each of us working to get to know him in our own way.

Faith is a bit by parenting. You have ideas about how it should work, but you don’t really know what practices and theories work for you until you put it into practice. Active, Contemplative, Environmental, Introspective there are many ways to practice faith.

I think of how afraid Mary is that Joseph is going to leave her, and Joseph so afraid about the leaving he thinks they must do. Each of them being afraid, and lonely in that fear.

Church is unique too, because just like a family, even though our practices are different other people’s faith practices can inform our own. Even if those particular practices are never our cup of tea, we can still strengthen one another by sharing about our faith.

Family is that way too!

Last year I talked about how we are the family in the waiting room, waiting for Christ and becoming family. We are becoming family through church.

When Joseph hears that he should keep the baby & Mary, that’s the moment they start to become Family. Before Christ even arrives.

As we build the nativity, we might each be drawn to different characters, but look at the variety of family, friends and strangers that come to see Jesus. This is because God invites each and every one of us to become a part of the family.

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Heck, Jesus wasn’t really the son of Joseph, but the practice of inviting others to be a part of the family start with Joseph, continues with the Nativity,then the Jews, then eventually we are all adopted as brothers and sisters in Christ.

I think of when Joseph is no longer alone in his fears, of the moment when he tells Mary what he was hoping and worrying about Jesus, and Mary shares back. This is the moment they become family, before Jesus is even born.

(Here is our version of the family, we made with the kids as Our First Building the Nativity Ornaments)

This is what I think happened then, even tho there is no such art of Mary and Joseph

We do not have to be a certain ethnicity or worship a certain way or even read the Bible in a certain language. That’s because the Good News of Jesus Christ is translatable. Christianity can fit into any culture (when we do it right).

We are all invited to come and join the nativity, so join us as we build the nativity this Advent season