The wisdom of Jesus is generous, eternal, extraordinary, kind, courageous.
Has God ever spoken to you in a dream? Throughout the Bible, God repeatedly spoke to people in their dreams. Are you open to hearing from God in your dreams? Welcome to Radical and Relevant, where we are exploring the enduring wisdom of Jesus in the Gospels. In today's scripture from the first chapter of Matthew's Gospel, we hear about a dream Joseph had that changed the direction of his life forever. Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just and righteous man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to send her away quietly. But as he considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. She will bear a Son, and you will call Him Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins." All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken through the prophet. Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and His name shall be Emmanuel, which means God with us.
When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him. He took his wife but knew her not until she had born a son, and he called him Jesus. The word that jumps off the page today is dream. I've always been fascinated with both waking and sleeping dreams. Our ability to dream is an extraordinary gift from God. The ability to look into the future and imagine something better than the present and then return to the now and work to bring about that richly imagined future is a magnificent ability. It is also a vastly unemployed ability. Most people stop dreaming at some point in their lives. This is tragic because it is a God-given ability. What are your dreams? What are your dreams? Because your dreams are your dreams for a reason. Whatever dreams for good things are deep in your heart have been placed there by God. In today's reading, God communicates through an angel in Joseph's sleeping dreams. God spoke to many people in the Scriptures in their sleeping dreams. Why? I don't know for sure. I'm not sure anybody does. But when we sleep, our ego defenses recede. And I suspect we are more open to a message that might challenge our current way of thinking in that resting, sleeping state. There are so many rich phrases in this reading. Expose her to shame is one. Today, this is the aim and result of so many social media posts.
God is with us is another powerful phrase. Life is different when we are mindful of God's presence in our lives. He will save His people. Imagine being told this about your child: do not be afraid. I would have been freaked out. There are so many rich phrases in today's readings, but the phrase that struck me the phrase that drew me in the most was how Joseph was described. He was a righteous man. The scriptures tell us he was a righteous man. What does that mean? A person of high moral standard, whose words and actions are closely aligned with those high moral standards. When I hear this definition of righteous, I become aware of the gap between my values and my actions. It's a gap we're all grappling with each day. That's okay. The real problem is when we stop grappling with the gap and give in to actions that are wandering away from our values. The virtue of the day is awe. What is awe? We experience awe when the transcendent pierces through our human experience to reveal truth, beauty, goodness, and the omnipotence of God.
There are things that God does that inspire awe in us, but there are also things we can do to enter into a state of awe. These include prayer, meditation, gratitude, and even things as simple as consciously marveling at the greatness and vastness of God's creation. Our faith is a constant invitation to discover ourselves in new ways, to live life intentionally, and to love God and neighbor in new and creative ways. Look for people and places that inspire awe in you and place yourself in their presence often. The gospel of Jesus Christ is as radical and relevant today as ever before. Go out into the world today and astonish people with your awe and appreciation of creation. And remember, don't just be yourself, be the very best version of yourself, all that God created you to be.
Thank you, ambassadors. You are changing the world. Have a great day. Bye-bye.
Simon, come sit. I love you.
Have a great day.