“Is not this Joseph’s son?”


In the silence of meeting for worship on Sunday, in the midst of my own faith community, after spending a week with others of my faith but not of my community, a touching moment from the Gospels came to me. (That I could not quite remember how the relevant passage was worded may mean I’m destined to sit in silence with a Bible on my lap. Maybe.) This moment from Luke 4: 16 – 30, is one sentence long; a bit, you might say, a little piece of theatrical business to explore or illustrate dramatic possibilities.

So let’s set the scene: Jesus of Nazareth has just returned to Galilee after spending forty days in the wilderness where he’d been tested by the devil—and passed. Having begun preaching in other Galilee synagogues, he returns to Nazareth and his own synagogue and on the sabbath, reads that stirring Jubilee passage from Isaiah. (Some of it. Jesus edits, apparently. But that’s another story, another post.) Like he’s been doing all over Galilee, Jesus wows ’em with his “gracious words.”

But here’s the bit: “They [his former neighbors, friends of his parents, the parents of his childhood friends] said, ‘Is not this Joseph’s son?’ ” (Mary’s son, too, we might add.)

Yep. He is. Composed, well-spoken, “filled with the power of the Spirit” after his wilderness-and-devil-and-forty-days’-fasting ordeal, he’s all that, he’s Local Kid Makes Good. Speaks Good. And his wowed listeners are both profoundly moved and remembering him when he was ten and, say, worked in his dad’s woodworking shop or carted water jars for his mother.

And we know thrilling moments such as what happened to Jesus’s hometown residents. We’ve been there. We’ve attended other people’s sons’ and daughters’ rites of passage and experienced, maybe for an instant, a thrill, frisson.

To be able to witness another person’s growth, change, transformation is holy. And while, of course, it’s touching when a child does these things, watching an adult transform is, for me, seeing Spirit made manifest.

Which, I believe, is Good News.


Join the Conversation

1 Comment

  1. Dear Patricia,

    Hi, there, Patricia, my so, so very dearly special and preciously dearest friend and sister who you are For Always so, so very much!!!!!! I thank-you so, so much for this greatly heartfelt and inspirational with huge insight blog post article of yours, my friend!!!!!! I love and like this so, so very much, Patricia!!!!! I love the verses from the Bible which you quoted and your great analysis of these very fine and excellent verses from Scripture. Just like our Most Sweet, Powerful, and Loving Jesus, people can never underestimate the potential of children because children can go beyond our wildest expectations, sisterfriend!!!!!! Children, and in fact, all of us as our Dearest and Darling Spirit God’s children can be emboldened in the very power of the Spirit to do great and lovingly caring and sensitive spiritual workings and goings on for our Dearest Jesus and for all of our Good God’s people, sister!!!!!!! As well, I want so and yearn with all of my very heart, and my very heart, soul, and spirit with all that I have within my human power and being to be a part of and to help people in their transformations and spiritual awakenings, sister! I aim to be a very loyal, steadfast, and consistent prayer warrior daily and to pray without ceasing in intercessory prayers for all of our dearest and darling sisterfriends and brothers, Patricia!!!!!!! It is very much indeed holy to bear witness to other people’s growth, change, and transformation, and it is one of our most cherished blessings, Patricia!!!!!! As with both children and adults, and in fact for all people of all ages and stages in life, to see their transformation is very much indeed to see Spirit made manifest. You are just so right on, on point, and make such a great and pertinent point as well when you say that this is very much indeed Good News, Patricia!!!!!! I thank-you, thank-you, thank-you so, so very much and so, so very profusely for all of your very relevant and blessedly inspiring points and for your great blog post in its entirety!!!!! You have just so greatly added to my day and made my day even brighter and uplifted my very spirit to be so inspired and blessed by you, my sisterfriend Christian, Patricia!!!!!!!

    Patricia, reading your so full of acuity and wisdom blog post articles, and responding to them with my comments, provide for me such great joy, blessings, and pleasure!!!!!!! You help me so, so very much in my walk with our Great God Spirit as your sisterfriend Christian, as I know you do as well for your other very grateful and appreciative readers!!!!!!! Please have a wondrously wonderful Wednesday, and may all of your days be so, so very especially blessed, sister!!!!!! Thank-you so For Always, Patricia!!!!!

    Very Warmly and Sincerely For Always, my dearest white sister, Patricia, with Peace and Love To You For Always, my precious sisterfriend, with Blessings and Even More Blessings To You For Always, my sisterfriend Christian,

    Your Christian lesbian black friend and sister For Always in solidarity, Sherry Gordon

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.