Sunday 8:15 a.m. Holy Eucharist Rite I
nave & online: Zoom
Sunday 10:45 a.m. Holy Eucharist Rite II
nave & online: Facebook/website
Tuesday 8:00 p.m. Compline
Wednesday 12:00 p.m. Eucharist
The Grace Church nave is located at the corner of Washington Street and Boulevard in Gainesville, Georgia.
The parish office, open Monday through Thursday from 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM, is located at 422 Brenau Avenue. Come to the red door that faces Brenau Avenue and ring the bell for access.
Mailing Address: 422 Brenau Avenue, Gainesville, GA 30501
The collect written for the Feast of St. Joseph, found in The Book of Common Prayer, is an interesting one:
O God, who from the family of your servant David raised up Joseph to be the guardian of your incarnate Son and the spouse of his virgin mother: Give us grace to imitate his uprightness of life and his obedience to your commands; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.(BCP, 239)
It is a carefully worded prayer that precisely lays out in “orthodox” terms just who everyone is in the family relationship: Joseph is Jesus’ “guardian,” he is the “spouse” to Mary, who, herself, is identified as a “virgin.” In many ways, this prayer shows two millennia of theological developments. Understanding Joseph requires that we understand Mary, it seems. She is the orienting point in the family dynamic in many regards; however, the Christian community has always deeply valued Joseph’s faithfulness in protecting Jesus. It was Joseph who travelled with his wife (yes the Bible calls her explicitly his wife) to Bethlehem. An angel appeared to him too, with a message of unimaginable scale. It is Joseph who leads the Holy Family into Egypt to take shelter as King Herod went on his rampage of infanticide. It was Joseph who presented Jesus at the temple and (somehow) lost track of him on the way home. It was Joseph who provided for their home and well-being as a carpenter in Nazareth during Jesus’ childhood. Matthew 13:55 has always posed interesting theological questions when it comes to this Holy Family: “Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas?” Curious, isn’t it?
The truth is that we don’t have the details on many things concerning Joseph. The Tradition has always understood him to be older, but we don’t know that. We don’t hear anything about him after a certain point and we assume that he died. But we don’t know that. He could have been faithfully working from home, continuing to support his family. Maybe he just didn’t like the spotlight. What we do know is that he was faithful and loving to his family. He was fiercely protective and took the risk of taking them away from danger until they could return home and build their life together.
We don’t need all these questions answered to realize that St. Joseph’s life and witness inspire us to be better people: to love those we care for, to pay attention for angels, and to live simply and thoughtfully. This is why we celebrate him and, as the tradition beautifully imagines, to invite him to pray for us all.
Join us for Evensong at Grace Church on Sunday, March 19 at 4:00 PM. Sung at the close of day in Cathedrals and churches all over the world, Choral Evensong focuses on the ancient practice of singing evening prayers. The congregation listens, joins in the hymns, and adds their own prayers to those of the choir.