MySpiritualAdvisor.com’s Mark Kurowski reflects on taking a risk and following God’s will?  How did Phil Robertson help us with our relationship with God, really? What does that have to do with Joseph and Mary? Listen to this podcast of his reflection on the readings for the 4th Sunday of Advent. Please read Matthew 1:18-24. #GreatPreaching #Prayer #Sermons #Homilyhelper #HolyFamily #DuckDynasty #PhilRobertson #Advent #Messiah #ToDoGodsWill

For MySpiritualAdvisor.com, this is Mark Kurowski with a reflection for Sunday, 12/22/2013 The 4th  Sunday of Advent.

 Please pause this audio and read Matthew 1:18-24.

          Doing God’s will means that we have a relationship with God and cultivate that relationship constantly. Doing God’s will is an art, not a science and it is messy. In fact, the whole of doing what we feel is God’s will in our lives can read like a soap opera. What should we do and how should we do it?

          Phil Robertson of the TV series, Duck Dynasty is in the headlines this week because he dared to articulate the primacy of a man and a woman in marriage and to question the legitimacy of homosexuality as an expression of God’s purpose for human sexuality. He was removed from the A&E TV series indefinitely. Some have speculated that this would be the end of the series on the A&E Network. I have to say that it takes a lot of nerve to come out against homosexuality today.

          Clearly, we are in the age of where homosexuality is the cause celeb.   Think of all the TV shows that cast a most positive light on being gay: Glee, Modern Family, and Grey’s Anatomy and many more. To come out against acting on one’s homosexuality in this day and age is dangerous to one’s future, indeed. Robertson has brought the debate about doing God’s will into the public square, and for that, I am thankful. Furthermore, if A&E didn’t think this is what they were getting in the first place when they signed these evangelicals from the swamps of Louisiana, they were just stupid. Yet, Robertson’s situation has caused me to think of our passage today asking the question, “For what would we be willing to lose our job, our family relationships, our public fame for the sake of God?”

          Think about our passage for this Fourth Sunday of Advent. In it there are some pretty incredible claims to the modern ear:   Jesus is born of a virgin. Jesus is in the lineage of David and thus is a fulfillment of prophecy. Prophecy is important in life. Prophecy breaks into history and redeems humanity from sin. There is sin from which we must be redeemed.

          Joseph, who is committed to Mary as her husband in betrothal, though not yet married, seeks to divorce her, which is his only option under the Law. She is pregnant by someone else. This is not fornication, it is adultery under the law. Today, we might read this and say, “Cool. OK. Whatever. What is the big deal?” Just last week in the movie, “Dallas Buyers Club,” I saw enough indiscriminate sex to make your hair stand on end.

Our libertine views of sexuality in this country, I believe, have gone way over the edge a long time ago. We act as though if it feels good, God allows it. Is there anything that we would consider wrong to do? Is there sin? Is there a salvation from our sins? What is the purpose of Jesus if we don’t believe in sin anymore?

          The writer of Matthew’s Gospel has all of these questions in mind. He makes some incredible claims: There is a God. That God has a chosen people, the Jews. Jesus is part of that line of salvation history through the house of King David. As promised by the prophets, as we see in the reading from Isaiah 7, God will bring a Messiah who will save his people from their sins. Sin, then, is the missing the mark of what God intended for us to be and to do.  Yes, there is still sin.

Joseph, a man who was righteous because he attempted to live the law, sought to not disgrace Mary, but to not be married to someone who cheated on him. How can a righteous man be with a woman who is not righteous? Then, out of the blue, an angel appeared to him in a dream and told him to go do what appeared to be against everything he had ever been taught about God and God’s laws. Now, Joseph is faced with not only accusations that he is marrying an adulterous woman, but he seems to be breaking the Law of God, something a righteous man like him would never want to do.

My point? Following God is messy and unpredictable. It can be like reading a soap opera, but it is your life. It may call for you to take an unpopular stance. It may call for you to do something that appears to be contrary to Scripture and the Law. Yet, it always will call on you to depend upon your relationship with God and his message to you.

Joseph was able to tell what to do because he had a relationship with God. He heard the message in a dream. Yet, for him to be able to identify an angel sent in a dream, that would mean that he had some concept of how God speaks to people. Do you have a concept of how God speaks to people? Do you cultivate that relationship on a daily basis? If you do not, then how can you trust what God is calling you to do? Or, do you not have a clue as to what God is calling you to do?

Possibly, you could be afraid to know what God wants you to do because you could end up like Joseph: doing something that causes you discomfort and shame. Or, you could be a person like Rosa Parks who ended up in jail because of what she felt God was calling her to do. Yet, all of these people cultivated a relationship with God. Whether we agree with them or not is another story, but the point is that following God takes courage. Being a Christian is not for sissies.

          So, today, do you have a relationship with God that would indicate to you that you would know his will for your life in the world? If God sent an angel to you, would you have the knowledge and the courage to do what he wants you to do? Would you count the cost and balance it on the scale and decide that doing what God wants is more important than your reputation or livelihood?

          Oh, one last thing: Joseph cultivated a relationship with God, trusted the messenger from God and provided the protection necessary for Jesus to be born, live, die and rise again. Joseph helped save the world. What is God calling you to do? Amen? Amen.

         

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