Live Loud – Br. Luke Ditewig
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We frequently remember Mary for saying “yes” to God’s invitation.Joseph also said “yes”though none of his words are recorded in scripture. His life is his word. Joseph’s actions speak loudly.
Joseph was a righteous man. Quiet Joseph resolved to do the right thing, to dismiss Mary quietly, to save her from disgrace.Then God told Joseph to do something different, to take Mary as his wife and name their child Jesus.Joseph listened and followed.
The righteous are attentive to listen, with a detachment and freedom to change their ideas—even, especially, of what they understand to be right—and being righteous means action, doing God’s will.
Through the gospels, Jesus continually confronts and laments those who cling tight to what they now sense is right. God surprises, challenges, and expands our sense of what is right, including when we resolve to be uncommonly compassionate like Joseph sensitively seeking to protect Mary from shame.
When God spoke, Joseph listened and changed his plans.He took Mary as his wife.Later God told him to flee to Egypt with his family, and Joseph did.Further on, God told him to return to Galilee, and Joseph did.
God comes and speaks with surprises including which challenge our good, limited sense of what is right. Awaiting God this Advent, what do you expect? Don’t cling too tight. Listen and look for surprises, for invitations which will stretch you to something more.We need not be afraid. God is good and saving.
Our actions speak loudly. Like Joseph, may we live our “yes.”
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This short sermon has great meaning for me. About twenty years ago I felt called to start being attentive and listening after years of thinking I had all the right answers (it’s rather painful to think about now). In that new way of seeing, hearing, and listening — which mostly happened in my heart — I discovered what Br. Luke is speaking of: a detachment and freedom to change my ideas—even, especially, of what I understood to be right. Growing up and spending most of my life in a faith tradition that tries to squash the idea of having the freedom to change what they tell the laity is right and non-negotiable became suffocating to me as I began to feel God open my heart to more loving ways of thinking and living. I eventually left that faith tradition and found myself happily in the Episcopal Church. It’s been a breath of fresh air. I am a much more happy and joyful person because I know I don’t have all the answers and I always look for the surprises and invitations that will stretch me and bring me closer to the true message of Jesus.