Good Joseph

Good Joseph,
_____Walking from Nazareth,
_____Waiting for the King,
_____Working in a stable,
What is this you’re doing?

What is this I’m doing?
_____Welcoming incarnate light from the darkness of the womb,
_____Wiping perfect skin of the blood and the water,
_____Wrapping eternity in a bundle,
_____Witnessing royal worship,
_____Wishing my part to add,
_____Watching spices given,
_____Weeping at the birth,
What is this I’m doing?

Good Joseph,
_____Walking from Arimathea,
_____Waiting for the kingdom,
_____Working yet unstable,
What is this you’re doing?

What is this I’m doing?
_____Walking crucified glory to the darkness of the tomb,
_____Wiping pierced skin of the water and the blood,
_____Wrapping eternity in a shroud,
_____Witnessing his uncrowning,
_____Wishing I could subtract,
_____Watching spices added,
_____Weeping at the death,
What is this I’m doing?

Author’s Notes:

Before this past week, I had never considered the interesting fact that God used two men named Joseph to bookend Jesus’ life. I found the parallels worth contemplating for the sake of connecting emotionally to the narrative.

The name “Joseph” means “to add,” and certainly they both add a unique contribution and perspective to the astonishing events. Both Josephs had difficult assignments that would have left them shocked and bewildered, yet both played a good and honorable role in the story of Christ. To capture their bewilderment, the answers of both men get progressively shorter until they return to the main question of the poem as though they realize that they cannot give an adequate answer.

Of course there is the repetition of “W” throughout which connects the entire poem to the question “What?” But the main feature of this poem lies in the parallels between their responses. Every line of Joseph of Arimathea corresponds to every line of Joseph of Nazareth.

I have written a sequel to this poem called “Good Mary.” “Good Joseph” is intended to be read first because it ends with Jesus’ death while “Good Mary” ends with Jesus’ resurrection.


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