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Following a thread

by davesandel on March 19th, 2012

Monday, March 19, 2012
Monday of the Fourth Week of Lent

Matthew 1:20, 24
The angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her.” When Joseph awoke …

Most of us have dreamed about something scary we were just watching or experiencing before sleep.  Joseph was heartbroken and angry before he went to bed that night, and he must have slept very fitfully.  I wonder if he prayed before he went to sleep.  Perhaps there was available what we now call “vespers” or “compline” prayer.  Did he pray with others?  Did he pray alone?  Did he pray at all?
My dreams are at least as real as my real-life experiences.  But when I awaken, the sense of reality fades quickly.  When Joseph awoke …

He wanted so much to believe what he dreamed.  The angel said to Joseph, “Do not be afraid.”  Mary is who she says she is.  She has not betrayed you.  This certainly made at least as much “sense” as the idea that she had betrayed him.  Betrayal was not part of her character at all.  He had been as shocked by what she told him about the baby as he was surprised by this dream.

Surely in a bit of a daze, Joseph might have joined his fellow townspeople in their morning prayer.  “Hear, O Israel.  The Lord our God is one.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your strength and all your mind.”  Later his son Jesus would add, “And love your neighbor as yourself” to God’s daily commandments repeated by the people.

Joseph’s night and day came together.  His dream was as real as his day.  He knew awake what he knew sleeping.  Did he laughing-run to Mary’s home and sweep her off her feet?  Was he overjoyed?  Of course he was.  God was as real and in his face that day as He would ever be.

For Joseph, the journey was beginning.

Let me be like Joseph, Lord, putting one foot before the other, stable even on the surface of dream, standing on the Rock of your Word and your words, your whispers, your assurance that you are God, and you are in charge.

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