Friday, February 17, 2012

Advent at the Edge House

My meditation from last Sunday's NOSH. The lesson was Matthew 1:1-17. Thanks to Rob Shrader and his Christmas Eve sermon years ago that I thought was brilliant and only dimly remember.

In Kentucky, one of the things I used to hear a lot was “who’re you kin to?” It means who are you related to, who are your people—which, of course, means more than just who your cousin is. It means, what are you like? Where did you come from? What do you stand for? Can I trust you? And it’s one of the more important questions folks ask when they join a church—who are these people, what do they stand for, and can I trust them?

Here at the Edge House, maybe you’ve made some connections already about who folks are kin to, in a more metaphorical way. Edward is certainly kin to CS Lewis, for one thing. And Matthew here is asking a similar question about Jesus—who’s he kin to? On one level, he’s establishing credentials—Jesus is related directly to Abraham, founder of the faith. He’s a big shot. On the other, this family is…shall we say, interesting. Surely Jesus’ family would be beyond reproach, the family of the Son of God would be theologians and kings and prophets and just the cream of the crop…

Abraham and Isaac both lied and told kings that their wives were actually their sisters to save their necks and almost got their wives raped.

Jacob wrestled with God, it’s true, but he also was a bit of a mischevious liar.

The first of the women mentioned is Tamar, a woman who’s first two husbands were brothers and who died while married to her. When her father-in-law refused to let he marry his third son and threw her out, she dressed as a prostitute, seduced the father-in-law, got pregnant, and then had a gotcha moment with him. And she was considered righteous, according to the story.

Salmon and Rahab had a son Boaz—but what it doesn’t tell you is that Rahab is another prostitute who sold out her people to massacre when the Israelites entered the Promised Land.

Ruth, grandmother of King David, was a filthy outsider, a non-Israelite and a widow before Boaz took her in.

David had a son, the famous Solomon, by the wife of Uriah—scandalous enough—and to make things worse, David lusted after Bathsheba and had her husband sent to the front lines of a war so he’d get killed so David could have her. And so it goes…

What does this suggest about Jesus’ family? About who he’s kin to? What do they stand for? Can we trust him?