“In Place of his Father Herod”
On the one hand, it was safe for Joseph to take his family back to Israel; on the other hand, it wasn’t.
It is the way of the world and it is the way of faithful pilgrimage that when one danger is eliminated or lessened another one rises or increases in its place.
Jesus was always safe but he was never safe and Jesus was never safe but he was always safe; it was that way all through his life—it was even that way as he hung on the cross. Even as he suffered and died, he was safe in the love and will of the Father; even as he was safe in the love and will of the Father, he suffered and died.
O God, help us to rest safe in your love and will even as we live boldly in the dangers and threats that confront us; help us to live boldly in the dangers and threats that confront us even as we rest safe in your love and will.
That was your way for your Son who is our Teacher and Lord; it is right that your way for him be your way for us, his apprentices and followers, as well.
Help us to submit to it.
“When Herod died, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, ‘Get up, take the child and his mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who were seeking the child’s life are dead.’ Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother, and went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was ruling over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there” (Matthew 2:19-22a).