We all have a place at God’s table


St. Joe's Promotion

Thunderous is the denizen's downpour, emerging from a silent expanse,

Sacred flame extinguished ,
Tempest of this present might.

Power beseeching power,
Witness echoing weakness,

Behold, the flower after the storm.

Gift of all gifts,
the pearl of God.
Granted to the seeker,
the artist of means.

Touched softly, prepared quietly.

Presentation of the human to the Divine, holy back to THE Holy,
set like a feast, an offering of remembrance.

Enshrined in the lap of luxury,
hewn out and set in the earthen ring of extravagance.

The sweat of man, anointing of burial…sealed monumentally.

My wealth for Your glory…the work of my hands for Your story.

The place where I will end…Your ever new beginning.

Let it be.

“When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus. This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the entrance of the tomb and went away.” –Matthew 27:57-60

Joseph of Arimathea by Pietro Perugino, a detail from his Lamentation over the Dead
Joseph of Arimathea by Pietro Perugino, a detail from his Lamentation over the Dead

This is a poem about the 'rich man', the disciple called Joseph of Arimathea. It's popular today in America and in some corners of the church, to demonize the rich. It's ironic to me since in relationship to many in the world, our poor, is their rich.

But Jesus used the term 'the poor' to include those whose poverty was deeper than the pocket. Greed and gluttony are sins of the 'haves and the have nots'. One's soul can be full or empty, no matter what is in the bank.

I think it was dignifying of God to pick Joseph as the one who would honor Jesus in His death. A man of means, who used his wealth in a way that redeemed 'work' and sanctified sweat in this 'all creation' salvation.

Humanity is ever at war with themselves either abroad, among ourselves or within the heart and mind. We love divisions and titles like 'rich man' — term that is spoken with a lewdness associated with the underbelly of society among crusading pietists. But Joseph used power to face power — position as platform, opportunity as witness.

St. Joe is a picture of a rich disciple, (us) using his life to serve God. He was portrayed a boldness of association that confounds worldly categories.

His offering is woven into the passion narrative, alongside the prostitutes perfume and kisses, Judas's silver coins and Simon's help with the cross.

We all have a place to occupy at the table of God's house, rich and poor alike.

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