He sat with the church people and those not welcomed in the churches – the sinners, the outcasts, the unvalued.
Mary’s son grew up to hang out with the sinners, pulled them to his table, touched them to heal them.
I wonder if it scared her. I wonder if she told him as a boy, “If you lay down with dogs, you get up with fleas.”
“Tell me thy company, and I’ll tell thee what thou art” – Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616)
Proverbs even tells us to choose carefully our companions:
“He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed” (Proverbs 13:20).
Yet, even Jesus closest circle of friends in ministry experienced moments of great failure.
Did anyone ever say, “Look who that Jesus is hanging out with?” and shake their head while another person answered, ‘What do you expect from a boy with his family history – the curse He probably carries – nothing good can come from a family tree that laden with sin.”
The thread of his family tree, though, frayed, probably damped with tears – those threads tell a story of not only missing it in big and little ways – but of God’s faithfulness and redemption, of not giving up on the sinner, of reaching in to their lives and hearts and pulling them out.
Frayed threads in a genealogy tapestry that messages each of us – no sin is too great for me to pull you out – just reach for me.
Red – the thread of sin
Eve’s thread started the story – beautiful reds, yellows, greens and blues. Perfect threads until frayed by sin, by loss of so much – paradise, children, innocence. But Shaddai, He loved her, probably had started the wheels of this salvation story long before she even sinned.
Yellow – the thread of compromised accountability, doubt and disbelief
Sarah, Abraham’s wife – stunningly beautiful, barren – in a marriage where she and her husband have trouble holding each other to accountability in decisions that affect their marriage. Yet, God visits Abraham, sits outside his tent, eats food made from her husband’s hands, and under the stars, Shaddai makes such big promises that Sarah laughs incredulous, doubting. Yet God knows her heart, loves her enough to call her on it – and fulfills His promise as she struggles with faithfulness in His promises. He knows her heart – and I think that her heart must have continued reaching, despite not always making the best decisions.
Green -Hope in the asking, Hope in the journey of a prayer answered, not always perceiving God’s intent.
Rebecca’s twins were a direct result of Isaac’s hope and faithfulness in God’s answered prayer. Yet, answered prayers are sometimes much more complicated than we can imagine, without a how-to manual for handling.
” God says to her ““Two nations are in your womb,
and two peoples from within you will be separated;
one people will be stronger than the other,
and the older will serve the younger” (Genesis 25:23)
And, just like me, she thinks she needs to do something to make it happen, instead of letting God take care of it – and so she helped Jacob trick his brother and father. Was that God’s intent? Or did it make things more unnecessarily complicated? One son left and she never saw him again – and the remaining son? How did he treat her betrayal?
She, like me, needed to realize that God has a much bigger tool bag than I do – with tools I never imagined, with journey plots more amazing than I can invent.
Orange – Unfavored, unwanted, un-valued yet redeemed and given a genealogical place of honor through Praise and Relationship with the Father
Of Jacob’s two wives, only Leah actually cleaves to her husband and His God. She doesn’t sell her night with him to her sister for some mandrakes – yet she buys that night with him with mandrakes.
Unfavored, Leah who learns to walk in faith and praise of the one true God, the God who had compassion with her grandmother-in-law who laughed at His promises. The names of her first 3 sons show a focus on pleasing, gaining her husband’s favor and love. Why is it that the harder we try sometimes to get someone to love us, the further away their affection moves?
The last son, though – we see that instead of pursuing Jacob, she pursued Yahweh. In the naming of the last son, Leah gives us a glimpse into an alive relationship with Yahweh: “She conceived again, and when she gave birth to a son she said, “This time I will praise the Lord.” So she named him Judah.Then she stopped having children” (Genesis 29:35).
From the Lion of Judah would our Savior come – from a mother rejected, un-valued by a father but so valued by the creator of the world. He didn’t place her love for Him in second place:
“Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed” (Rev 5:5).
Frayed threads in a Holy tapestry - imperfect marriages, imperfect parenting. God loves these imperfect marriages, these imperfect parents – when they reach for Him in their imperfection, in their belief struggles, their lack of understanding struggles and their value struggles – when they reach for Him, it changes everything.
Jesus came to redeem the imperfect. He wants you and me to reach out to those that are missing it – who need to sit at your dinner table, who need hands reached out in prayer and welcome, who need Jesus but aren’t quite ready to embrace Him yet, who aren’t cleaned up yet – frayed threads woven together into a greater story, woven through grace into a greater Holy family history.
Please join me next Wednesdayfor a continuation of Frayed Threads in a Holy Tapestry: A Christmas Genealogy Part 3.