Homily on Feast Day of Joseph of Arimathaea at 12 Step Eucharist
August 1, 2018, Luke 23:50-56
12 step Eucharist St. Mark’s Episcopal Church
Today is the feast day of Joseph of Arimathaea. “He was a good and righteous man… and had not agreed to their plan and action. He came from the Jewish town of Arimathea and he was waiting expectantly for the kingdom of God.” That’s us!! I think we all are here tonight because we are waiting expectantly for the kingdom of God and are hoping to find some part of it right here in this very chapel,/ a very thin place, filled with the prayers of thousands before us. We have much in common with Joseph of Arimathaea.
“He did not agree to their plan and action.” But what did he do about it? did he speak up for Jesus? There is no record that anyone testified on Jesus’ behalf. We are like Joseph of Arimathaea. We see injustice and wrongdoings in the lives of others and ourselves, but we often do not speak up against them./ We fear what might happen to us. W fear the consequences of speaking out./ We fear what we do or say might be offensive and hurt someone, or heaven forbid, we would become unpopular.
But then a transformation occurs, what we might call, a moment of clarity. Joseph personally goes to Pilate. What bravery. He asks for Jesus’ body, personally takes the nails out of Jesus’ hands and feet, washes off the blood from his head, his hands his feet, his side, his back, wraps the body in a linen cloth and lays it presumably in his own tomb./
Are we Joseph of Arimathaea? Is there a point where we can no longer live our lives with a mask? We no longer pretend to go along with the old crowd. We look inside ourselves and speak our truth and act on it.
A fictional modern-day Joseph might be Atticus Finch, a widowed lawyer in 1932 Alabama in To Kill a Mockingbird. He unsuccessfully defends Tom Robinson the black man accused of raping a white woman.
Another modern-day Joseph of Arimathaea is Rosa Parks, the black seamstress in Montgomery, Alabama who decides one day she is too tired to walk to the back of the bus and changes the course of civil rights.
And of course, there are those in 12 step Recovery who one day decide they can no longer live this way/ and take off their mask of perfection and a secret lifestyle/ and admit they have a problem/ and seek help/ and in turn help others. Think about it. We who are gathered to celebrate this 12 step Eucharist know what it is like to be Joseph of Arimathea. I think there is a Joseph of Arimathaea inside of each of you, making a stand, changing the way we have been relating to ourselves,/ to God, / and to the world.