We know Joseph was a carpenter, a working man. The cynical Nazarenes ask about Jesus: "Is this not the carpenter's son?" Joseph was not a rich man, for all he could afford as an offering were two turtle-doves or pigeons when he took Jesus to the Temple to be circumcised. Those with more money would have taken a lamb to sacrifice.
We know Joseph was a compassionate man. When he discovered that his fiancee, Mary, was pregnant, he knew that the child was not his but was yet unaware that Mary was carrying the Son of God. He planned to divorce Mary according to Hebrew law but he was concerned for her suffering and safety. Joseph knew that women accused of adultery could be stoned to death so he decided to divorce here quietly and not bring shame or persecution to her.
Joseph was also a man of immense faith, obedient to whatever God asked of him. When the angel came to Joseph in a dream and told him the truth about the child Mary was carrying, Joseph immediately, and without question, took Mary as his wife. When the angel came again to warn him that his family was in danger from Herod, he immediately left everything behind and took his wife and baby to a new country, seeking safety. And he patiently waited in Egypt until the angel told him it was safe to go back.
Just after turning 50, he was asked to leave his hermitage and become a bishop. For the next two years he travelled around, evangelising as Aidan had done. And at the age of 52, feeling the approach of his death, he returned to the Inner Farne and to his hermitage and he died in the company of the Lindisfarne monks on 20 March 687.
On Monday, 19 March, we celebrate these two men with a service of Holy Communion. All are welcome to attend.