The young woman walked into the church, slid into the pew to as the crowd sang, “There’s no God like Jehovah!”
Uncomfortable, not quite sure about God or Jehovah or Shaddai – or whatever name church threw out – but wanting to be there for a reason she couldn’t quite identify, when she sat down, she laid her iPhone face up. Muted, it rang, lit up and a photo appeared, an inappropriate photo – one her mother wouldn’t want her to have.
The neighbor in the pew looked down as it lit up, eyes wide, looked at her, then turned away.
A few minutes later, the young women slid out, feeling judged, feeling maybe this wasn’t the place for her, maybe there was just too much wrong for it to be made right.
Maybe the woman who turned away wasn’t judging. Maybe it was a good excuse for the young woman to not face Him today.
I used to be that woman judging. I wanted turn my back on sin. I didn’t understand that when I gave my life to Him that meant reaching past the sin into someone’s soul, reaching to find what God loves about them and helping them pull that out of themselves.
It’s the Christmas season, celebrating our Savior’s birth – He who was without sin.
You know – we’re really never cleaned up, pure – it was Jesus sacrifice that covers our sins so He can see us. The son of God made man, slapped with a genealogy that would cause some parents turn away a request from him for their daughter’s hand in marriage: “I worry about the curses that man would bring to my daughter’s life.”
When you read the Christmas story, do you skip over the genealogy? I do. I want the manger, the angels singing, the shepherds, the near-death escape to Egypt. Ancient kings, wealthy men, slaves, shepherds, small town men and women of no great consequence with names I cannot pronounce – they just got in the way of the Christmas story.
Growing up, my grandmother placed the family bible in the entry way, open to the geneology of the Christmas story, a gold and ruby crucifix laying across the page. Every year, I skimmed – wanting to get to the gift of Christmas – of Salvation walking on earth. I always focused on the end-product of salvation – not realizing that, yes, I want my soul cleaned up, strengthened and living Jesus-in-me – salvation in me isn’t true unless I also reach out to the sinner next to me.
In the skipping and jumping to the Salvation walking, I missed so much – so much of the genealogy, a genealogy of the sins, the curses, all the faith stories, miracle stories and everything inbetween. I realized, though, that I need the genealogy stories. The stories are a testimony of God’s love for the sinner.
Because God loves the sinner. He not only loves them, He pursues them – the unloved, the rebel, the sinner – an outcast because of the sinner’s choices or choices of others. Then He leads them home, brings the outcast into His inner circle. Then Yahweh, Shaddai, God – He restores!
This geneology isn’t always pretty – just like mine.
The geneology isn’t always faithful – just like mine.
For those who have the courage to try to find Him, like sitting in a pew letting your sin show itself, oh, He is life-changing – the history shows His love, His commitment imperfect people trying to love Him.
Trusting an imperfect people to give birth to Salvation Walking. To parent Salvation Walking.
There are messages to a mother, a wife, a daughter and a daughter-in-law, a neighbor, a stranger, a young woman looking – the love letters of Yahweh for His very broken children.
Each wife, each mother of the men listed in the genealogy are frayed threads redeemed by His grace, His determination, His powerful love and forgiveness.
Frayed threads – each of them
Just like the frayed thread I am.
“Don’t you see, you planned evil against me but God used those same plans for my good, as you see all around you right now—life for many people” (Genesis 50:20)
Please join me this week as I trace Jesus’ geneology through the mothers and wives. Trace with me what each woman contributed to Jesus’ family history – which becomes each of our history when we become children of God.