When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child . . .

MT 1:18

Luke’s and Matthew’s nativity narratives are quite dissimilar. The Biblical scholar Ray Brown counted only eight points of similarity. The most basic difference is that Luke tells the story from Mary’s perspective and Matthew from Joseph’s, almost as if they had divvied up the duty. But both parents face this fact: Mary is pregnant and not by Joseph.

Both have visits from angels, who terrify them, but are calmed by the standard angel greeting, “do not be afraid.” Mary accepts her discipleship despite knowing the consequence, and Joseph accepts his after the angel assures him that his wife really has conceived by the Holy Spirit, and it is the divine will that he should take the child as his own.

Reinhold Niebuhr’s famous serenity prayer seems apt for this situation:

God, give me grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed,

Courage to change the things which should be changed,

and the Wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.

As much as I’ve liked this prayer, the Nativity story suggests that it misses the mark. Wisdom is

not about us deciding what to change and what to accept. Wisdom is about discerning God’s

will. Following God’s will requires courage, and yes, please God, give us serenity because

sometimes it leads to a cross.

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If you have any questions about ministry or giving please ask me at jvrussell85@gmail.com

 

Stewardship Corner

Weekly Updates from our Stewardship Commission


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