We continue our four week journey through the Gospel of Matthew in worship this Sunday with reflection on Matthew 2.13-23. Alexander Shaia writes,
After Jesus’s birth, an angel came again to Joseph, telling him to take Mary and the tiny defenseless new baby away from the comfort of their home. Even more distressing, the angel instructed Joseph that he should take them to Egypt, the country of Jewish slavery, a place of deep danger, of historical alienation and pain…[Eventually] Herod died, and though Joseph might safely have returned home to Bethlehem, once more an angel appeared to him in a dream, this time telling him he was to remain away, separated from his parents and siblings…Leaving one’s family was an act of tantamount to abandonment…Departing from Egypt, he chose Nazareth, in Galilee as his new destination.” (The Hidden Power of the Gospels, 63).
What are some of the most significant moves you’ve made in your life? Where did you move from and where did you move to? Was the move “forced” or was it a “choice”? How was the move for you?
Joseph was called to literally “dislocate” himself both physically, emotionally and spiritually. He was called to revisit a place of pain and discomfort in his community’s life. The move was more than geographical. In order to parent the child into God’s unfolding future, he had to be willing to return to the realities of his own community’s past.
What pains shaped your early life? How have you revisited those realities in the past? How might you need to revisit some of them today? How might patience and willingness to endure with vigilance allow old understandings to die?