“Welcome Charlie Barker – our first 2018 guest writer for the Weekly Message. Included at the end of this devotional is a brief summary of Charlie’s work with Compassionate DFW (Dallas/Fort Worth). Beyond his many gifts and talents, both he and his wife, Conoly are giving people who have been instrumental, not only in my and Jeannie’s faith walk (from the time we first met them in 1991), but to so many others they have met along The Way.” Jerry Patee, Staff @ thewayperdido.com
Charles Barker, MD
January 19, 2018
Now after they [the wise men from the east] had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ”Get up, take the child and his mother and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him. Matthew 2:13
Although advent, Jesus’ birthday, and epiphany have all passed, I cannot get Joseph out of my head. Joseph was obedient. He was a good man and did what was right. Matthew tells us he was righteous. He was a carpenter in Nazareth and known. He was betrothed to Mary. They were to be married.
I can imagine how Joseph must have felt when he learned Mary was pregnant – very disappointed, hurt, feeling betrayed, even angry knowing he was not the father. He could have followed the religious laws and joined the community in stoning Mary to death, the punishment for adultery. But Joseph loved Mary. He was unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, so he planned to dismiss her quietly, which would have brought the disgrace upon him.
What happened next is amazing to me. Joseph had a dream – the Lord appeared and told him not to be afraid, to take Mary as his wife, and when his son was born he was to call him Jesus. He was told this was of the Holy Spirit. Joseph awoke and did as he was told. Joseph was obedient. He could have dismissed the dream as a figment of his imagination. But he did not. And there were several more dreams in which an angel of the Lord appeared, instructed, and each time Joseph obeyed.
Joseph was a good husband and a good father. And over the next 30 years raised and nurtured Jesus, the son of God, our Lord and Savior…amazing! I feel confident there were probably more dreams along the way and knowing Joseph, he was opened to them, listened, and obeyed – the work of the Holy Spirit.
I want to be more like Joseph. How about you?
Charles Barker MD
Dr. Barker is President and founder of Compassionate DFW, a grassroots organization whose mission is to foster the international Charter for Compassion, encouraging compassion and compassionate action throughout the Dallas/Fort Worth area using the Golden Rule as guiding principle and encouraging every individual and every organization to affirm the Charter and to cultivate intentional compassion in all relationships. Thus far, city government officials of Dallas, Fort Worth, and Richardson Texas have affirmed the Charter, these cities becoming partners, along with hundreds of individuals and many organizations representing eleven sectors of interest – Arts, Business, Education, Environment, Healthcare, Peace, Religion – Interfaith – and Spirituality, Restorative Justice, Social Justice, Social Services, and Women and Girls. Dr. Barker completed theological studies at SMU, is an active member and ordained Elder in the Presbyterian Church (USA).