Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Christi nativitas

Joseph was a just man, one unwilling to put another to shame. How do we think of justice these days, Beloved? Is it not when someone gets what they deserve? If we receive what we deserve, are we then blessed? God forbid we should be rewarded for our works. The works we will be rewarded for are the ones that God works in us. This is safety rather than just desserts. Yet we are free to act and to study with or without diligence.

Can one know any more about Jesus' birth than one could know say about my birth, or yours, or the birth of an emperor? I suspect Mary brought him forth from the womb with as much blood and pain and wonder as is common for any birth. Like Tamar, and the wife of Uriah, she was found with child outside of her betrothal. Pain is one measure of our reality. In this God is with us. Let me not be ashamed even of shame for God is with us in the burning fiery furnace of our affliction also, despising the shame for the glory that is to be known, caught even in our own traps.

Mark says nothing of the birth or Joseph. For him, Jesus appears like Melchizedek, without ancestors or progeny, a mysterious man whose identity is not to be revealed till his glory can be known. John agrees with Mark as one might expect, for this beloved disciple, John Mark, had an influence on the Elder's writing. In Mark, he is called the son of Mary, a reference to a fatherless child. In John he is twice called the son of Joseph. Whose son is he? And what is a son that we should adore him?

– He was not an easy child. I remember asking on my way in from the fields, "where is my son that he does not come to greet me?" He was always in the town, never home except at the most inconvenient times and without warning. He did not keep safe company.

Who can say when a birth will herald wholeness?

2 comments:

Stephen (aka Q) said...

That's very beautiful — poetic. It's very different from my style; I don't have the gift.

Where is the quote from?

Bob MacDonald said...

Stephen - the post is a step in a story which will follow a number of second and first century characters through their reading of the fourfold gospel. I am using two formats in the limited blog editor I have. Plain text is the narrator's recounting of his own life. Italicised text is a flashback to a memory that the narrator has from his history. The particular quote in this episode is from Gaius of Corinth concerning his child who was born with alcohol related brain damage. Thanks for your comment. Other story segments are available via the story tag.