Summary: The Fruits produce by the Holy Spirit.
When I was a kid I thought being a butler would be kind of cool.
The problem was, growing up in a trailer in New Brunswick there weren’t a lot of folks around who needed butlers.
And my favourite butler has been “Alfred Thaddeus Crane Pennyworth” you know him, he was Batman’s butler. And my favourite Alfred has been played by Michael Cane, but the actor who played him in the most movies is Michael Gough who played the role of Alfred for three different Batmans. Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer and George Clooney.
And butlers are supposed to be like children, seen and not heard. They are simply a part of the background. They open doors, press clothes and present visitor. And while they seem relatively unimportant the world of their masters would fall apart without the ever-present butler.
And every once in a while they are good to blame, you know “The butler did it!” Whatever it was.
This is week 7 of our “Minions: Playing Second Fiddle for God” series. And you will recall that when Leonard Bernstein was asked what the most difficult instrument to play was, , he replied without hesitation: “The second fiddle. I can get plenty of first violinists, but to find someone who can play the second fiddle with enthusiasm – that’s a problem; and if we have no second fiddle, we have no harmony."
This morning we are going to step back into the New Testament and into probably the most familiar story of the bible, the Christmas story.
Being Father’s Day I thought it would be good to take a look the man God entrust his son to. Jesus’ earthly father.
He’s always the forgotten one at Christmas. Oh, we remember the Christ child, how could we forget him, even in the shopping malls they sing about the birth of Christ and his name is even included in the very word Christmas. Without Christ, there would be no Christmas and so he’s remembered.
And his mother, you remember “Round yon Virgin.” After all the virgin birth was pretty spectacular, wasn’t an everyday occurrence. And we are still talking about it. And to give Mary her due it took a lot of faith to trust God for the miracle that he had promised.
We even remember the bit players in the drama, we talk about the shepherds and the Wiseman, we cast them in the Christmas pageants and talk about how lucky they were to be a part of the first advent.
The innkeeper even gets a speaking role in the play and he’s basically the villain of the piece. Who’s forgotten? Joseph, you know Mary’s husband, the man who would raise Jesus the Son of God as Jesus the Son of Joseph.
We don’t know a whole lot about Joseph, we know that he was a carpenter, that he lived in Nazareth and that his family was originally from Bethlehem. We know that his father’s name was Jacob and that he was a descendant of David.
We know that it was Joseph that the Angels came to in a dream to warn about King Herod looking for Jesus, and he took his family to Egypt.
We know that when Jesus was 12 years old that Joseph took him to Jerusalem for the Passover feast and we know that Joseph taught Jesus his trade. But then we don’t hear anymore from or about Joseph after that.
And it seems that everybody had a voice in the gospel account of the first Christmas everybody except for Joseph. We hear from Mary and Gabriel, Elizabeth and Zechariah, the shepherds and the Magi. We even hear from Herod, and he was the bad guy. But not a peep from Joseph. He’s as silent as the best of butlers.
We presume that because at his crucifixion Jesus asked John to care for his mother that Joseph died before Christ was crucified.
In Mark 6:3 Jesus is identified as Mary’s son and his brothers are named but there is no mention of Joseph so it’s not that much of a stretch to presume that Joseph died before Christ began his ministry. And we know that within the community, that Joseph was considered to be the Father of Christ.
You know the story; Joseph was engaged to a young girl from Nazareth named Mary. Historically and culturally we can almost assume that they had been engaged from childhood, although we don’t know that, but you know what happens when you assume? Yeah sometimes you’re right.
And so, we don’t know how long they had been engaged but we do know that they had entered into the last stage of their engagement, which was known as the Betrothal. Now Betrothal was much more serious than our engagement. It lasted for about a year and was a legally binding contract, which could only be broken by death or by divorce.