Buried in the Christmas story is a troubling incident that rarely, in my experience, makes it to the pulpit. Fearing for the safety of Jesus, Joseph and Mary decide to flee their home and country. Taking what they can carry, they make the arduous journey to the only place of safety they know: Egypt. There, they are accepted and stay until the danger has passed and they can return home. Presumably Joseph finds work as a carpenter.
Meanwhile, back in Bethlehem, King Herod, notoriously jealous of his power, has ordered the slaughter of all male children under the age of 2. He fears one of them will grow up to depose him. (Matthew 2:1-23)
Fear, dangers and murder dominate this story. We note parallels in our time. Unemployment, wages that don’t pay the bills for food, rent and utilities, and other deep concerns about family health and safety create insecurity and fear. Here, in the United States and throughout the world. This calls for reflection beyond rhetoric. I invite you to a journey, an actual neighborhood walk that provides thoughtful response to troubling situations.
This Saturday, Billings Sanctuary Rising will celebrate an Interfaith Las Posadas, remembering that our faith ancestors forever journeyed seeking open hearts and homes. We will begin at 11 a.m. at Mary Queen of Peace, 3411 Third Ave. S., going from place to place recounting the story of Joseph and his family. We hope you will join us in singing, walking and sharing in that story. Let us ponder what we can do so that families’ dreams of hope, peace, joy and love might be realized more fully in our time, both at home and at our borders.
Sister Marya Grathwohl