In your comments, feel free to address some or all of the questions presented.
You are also free to discuss the devotional reading outside of the study guide questions.
Sunday questions are from the study guide supplied by Brethren Press.
1. What moments this past week fostered a sense of fear, uncertainty, or dis-ease?
2. Where did you sense God’s presence and peace this week?
1. Read Matthew 1:18-25. What stood out to you in this reading of the text?
2. The heading for this text is often called “Joseph’s obedience.” Has there been a time when you have felt that being obedient to God (doing the “right thing”) was entirely countercultural, and therefore fear-inducing? How did you resolve your conflicting feelings?
3. Mary is young, female, unwed, and pregnant. All of these characteristics place her firmly in the camp of the marginalized. Joseph’s actions sought to preserve her dignity. How might you seek to preserve the dignity of the marginalized in today’s society?
4. Jesus is identified as conceived by the Holy Spirit (by divine presence). We, too, are called children of God. Jesus didn’t live a trouble-free life. How might the reminder that we are children of God make us fearless in frightening times?
5. Joseph’s final act of obedience in this text is the naming of Jesus. To this day, we continue to pray and to meet “in the name of Jesus.” How does that recognition inform or challenge the things you say and do?
God bless Joseph. He usually appears as the quiet guy in the background of the nativity scenes. We know him as Jesus’s stepdad, kind of in the shadows of the whole Jesus narrative. In these verses, though, I see the strength in Joseph. His loving, forgiving spirit keeps him open to the miracle of Jesus, despite the "scandal" of Mary’s pregnancy. He’s not in the shadows–he’s the nonjudgmental human backbone on which the Holy family is built.
In today’s world, we are surrounded by words of judgment on a regular basis. Our country and culture are divided. The “them” perspective is prevalent.
I’m grateful for this focus on Joseph in today’s devotional. His strength, openness, love, forgiveness, and acceptance are all worthy of emulation. I’m going to pray to have a “Joseph heart.”