Redemption Songs // 2nd Day of Christmas // Pastor Barbara Smith

The marketplace loses interest in Christmas after December 25th–while our sacred tradition sets aside twelve days to celebrate the savior, born to us as a child in the manger.  These days are not after-Christmas, after all.  They are set apart for our collective wonder, designated time to ponder in our hearts what this means for us.  This is when the holidays once again become holy days.

Please join Pastor Barbara Smith for the message this Sunday–on the second day of Christmas.  Too much has happened for us to rush on to what’s next.  The holy celebration isn’t over.  In fact–it’s just begun.

Redemption Songs // Joseph did YOU Know // Pastor Kate Murphy

This time of year, you can’t turn on a radio without hearing someone sincerely sing the question, Mary, did you know?   It’s a beautiful song with a haunting melody, but if you read Luke 1, it’s clear.  She knew.  She was all in from the start.

The real question is…what did Joseph know and when did he know it?

Because Matthew 1:18 says that Mary ‘was found out to be pregnant’ after they were engaged but before they were married.  It goes on to say that because Joseph was ‘faithful to the law’ he made up his mind to divorce her quietly.  And I wonder–how did Joseph learn Mary was pregnant?  Did Mary come and tell him and try to make him understand?  Did someone else find out and tell him, and if so–did he try to talk to her at all?  Did he listen and not believe–or was he so certain he already knew what was going on that he didn’t bother to ask?  When the angel appeared to him in a dream and told him Mary’s pregnancy was from God–was that new news, or confirmation that Mary’s improbable story was true?

My whole life I’ve been taught to celebrate Joseph’s compassionate decision to put her aside quietly–to see it as proof that he was a very, very good man, to see it as the most anyone could expect of a righteous God-fearing man.  But now I wonder if we’ve been reading this part of the story all wrong.  Is Matthew trying to get us to celebrate Joseph’s righteousness–or to warn us, that even our most faithful and righteous choices can be in opposition to what God is trying to do in the world?

Is Joseph a model we try to live up to–or a warning we try to learn from?  It all depends on what he knew and when he knew it. 


Pastor Kate

Redemption Songs // Jesus Genealogy // Pastor Kate Murphy

Saint Matthew begins his gospel with what looks like a long, boring, irrelevant list of names:

Perez begat Herron, Hezron begat Ram, Ram begat Amminadab, Amminadab begat Nahshon

Why in the world are the names of these long dead men included? What could their lost stories possibly have to teach us about the coming of Jesus?

We begin to understand once we remember that this is a redemption story.  Christ comes to redeem all of God’s creation–to reclaim and refashion it for God.  That means no piece of human history is left out–no life is untouched.  Learning these strange names–and about the lives behind them–uncovers the blinding scope and power of God’s redemptive work in Christ.  Uzziah, Shealtiel, Jehoshaphat and Zerrubbabel–all of their stories are part of the story of Jesus.  I hope you’ll join me to learn how. (If nothing else, it’ll be fun to watch my struggle to pronounce their names!)

Pastor Kate