While we have been in Birmingham for over six-months, we still own a house in Selma. Even though we buried a statue of St. Joseph upside down by our front door and said the St. Joseph prayer, we still have not received an offer on the house!
Some of you may be familiar with this quasi-pagan tradition of burying a St. Joseph when trying to sell a house. Regardless of the hint of superstition involved, the tradition is a reminder that St. Joseph is the patron saint of households. He is also the patron of laborers or workers as he was a carpenter.
Joseph took care of the household of Jesus. Joseph was the person quietly tending to the practical matters of the faith. He was the one who ensured there was space for Jesus to grow into adulthood. He made sure Mary could raise this child both in her body and in her home.
When Joseph found out Mary was pregnant, he quietly moved to divorce her. However, the angel told him that this pregnancy was of the Holy Spirit. Joseph, a faithful man, decided to stick with Mary despite the humiliation and shame it might bring. When news got out that King Herod wanted to kill Jesus, he helped his family escape to Egypt.
Joseph’s place in the gospel is a reminder that tending to our spiritual lives involves a practical side. Tending to our spiritual lives involves making physical space so that we might nurture and grow our faith. How we can make space that is comfortable, safe, clean, and even beautiful. How can we make space that invites the Holy Spirit in? a place of radical hospitality and welcome?
I love how this church makes space for the faith of Jesus to grow. Our campus is open and big. The large windows invite the natural light and beauty of the world around us to fill our senses. I wonder where there are other spaces in your life where you can nurture your faith. Maybe you have created a place in your home. Maybe there is a quiet place in nature – in your backyard, at a park.
If you don’t have such a space, consider asking St. Joseph to help you find and make space to experience the divine life of God. And like St. Joseph, you might even find in your calling to make space for others to experience the love of Christ.
As you prepare and find space to grow in the knowledge and love of God, I pray you discover how God is making space in you – in your heart and soul – to carry the love of Christ just as God, through Joseph, made space for Mary to carry and nurture the love of Christ. And may your life be about making space for others to know the goodness and mercy of God in Christ.