Family tapestry threads – intertwining, touching, our warp threads woven into the weft thread of time – rubbing up to the most current threads in the story – stories of enduring faith in onslaughts of injustice, immorality, persecution, and heart-breaking tragedy.
Frayed warp threads sorely abused.
Frayed threads not broken because their faith stranded with them, faith in God-promises not always seen in their lifetime.
Jesus family history is a testimony to each of us. It is a testimony that in a world where free will and sin exist, bad things happen. Bad things still happen to a faithful people. It is that faithfulness, though, that enabled them to go on, to not give up, to pass that faith down to the next generation.
“Each one of these people of faith died not yet having in hand what was promised, but still believing.” (Hebrews 11:13)
Each thread adding to the story, never breaking, always continuing:
Purple – Courage, Protection, Over-coming Injustice
Tamar’s shows the importance of holding to accountability, to pursing justice – a seemingly sordid tale in our culture of a woman widowed twice by 2 brothers, neglected by the marriage laws of her father-in-law, Judah – yet, her fighting spirit that forces her father-in-law to honor his legal responsibilities is doubly blessed when she has twins.
Black – separation and bondage; homelessness; loss
Women of Israel slaves in Egypt remained faithful in bondage, separation and loss. Wives whose family tree boasted wealth and power devolved into slavery in Egypt – women whose names and stories aren’t know: wives of men like Hezron, Ram, Amminadab, Nahshon – born in slavery, yet they were women who held tight to and taught of a Father God who sat outside tents, who answered prayers, who wrestled Jacob He loved him so much.
Women whose babies were slain by Pharaoh in an effort to eradicate their a deliverer:
“Then Pharaoh commanded all his people, “Every son that is born to the Hebrews1 you shall cast into the Nile, but you shall let every daughter live” (Exodus 1:22)
These women kept their faith alive, passed it down as an inheritance . They had no riches, only a faith-inheritance in a land that neither welcomed nor acknowledged Yahweh.
Green and White – New beginnings and Cleansing
A prostitute on a family tree? A redeemed prostitute? Finding true love, a place of honor because she loved and honored God.Rahab, a prostitute who sought out a relationship with the one true God, who saved the Israelites by letting them hide in her house – who married Joshua – and from her came prophets and a savior.
Oh, how God loves the sinner – the out-casting kind of sinning that we don’t want our children around – He loves them, wants them, redeems them – that just wows me!
Blue – compassion, selflessness, loyalty in the face of loss
Naomi lost her husband and 2 sons. She has no protection, no provision. She was a woman all alone, except for 2 daughter-in-laws she encouraged to return to their families and find new husbands.
Her daughter-in-law Ruth also had no protection, no one to shield her. She didn’t need her mother in-law, didn’t need that relationship because her mother-in-law didn’t have anything to offer her. Yet, Ruth reached out: “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God” (Ruth 1:16)
Ruth’s selflessness and honor brought God’s grace into her life, giving her a place on Jesus’ family tree. God doesn’t need our relationship, yet He loves us, pursues us for relationship. Jesus didn’t have to die for us. He didn’t need us. Yet, He reached for each one of us, died for us that we may be considered a part of His family, live with Him in heaven.
When one reaches to love another just because He would want us to – blessing multiplies.
Silver – Redemption, Strength, Over-coming, Spirit, Grace, Revelation
Bathsheba, – had a child with her husband’s murderer – how else can you say that? She was put in a no-win situation, and then her new born died.
“While the child was alive,” he said, “I fasted and wept, thinking God might have mercy on me and the child would live. But now that he’s dead, why fast? Can I bring him back now? I can go to him, but he can’t come to me.”
Yet, God took an impossible situation – and gave hope, a new future, forgiveness. God allowed love and comfort to grow between David and Bathsheba – and blessed them immeasurably.
“David went and comforted his wife Bathsheba. And when he slept with her, they conceived a son. When he was born they named him Solomon. God had a special love for him and sent word by Nathan the prophet that God wanted him named Jedidiah (God’s Beloved).(2 Samuel 12:22-25).
Jesus’ family tree is not a Utopian lineage of sinless people living easy, perfect lives. Jesus’ family tree is full of redeemed people surviving heart-break and challenges. They didn’t allow the challenges to break the thread of their story or their faith. They managed through their faith to not only survive but pass down their faith as an inheritance.
Jesus family tree shows us that being a child of God in a world of free will, sin and faith – that both the sinner and the faithful face the same challenges. The difference is in how the faithful face those challenges – and what awaits each of us in heaven – all because of God made man born to save us – of Salvation walking amongst us.
“Through acts of faith, they toppled kingdoms, made justice work, took the promises for themselves. They were protected from lions, fires, and sword thrusts, turned disadvantage to advantage, won battles, routed alien armies. “Women received their loved ones back from the dead. There were those who, under torture, refused to give in and go free, preferring something better: resurrection. Others braved abuse and whips, and, yes, chains and dungeons. We have stories of those who were stoned, sawed in two, murdered in cold blood; stories of vagrants wandering the earth in animal skins, homeless, friendless, powerless—the world didn’t deserve them!—making their way as best they could on the cruel edges of the world.
Not one of these people, even though their lives of faith were exemplary, got their hands on what was promised. God had a better plan for us: that their faith and our faith would come together to make one completed whole, their lives of faith not complete apart from ours.” (Hebrews 11: 33-40)
Frayed Threads – that’s what each of us are. The threads of us can be seemingly pulled thin – but we are stretched beyond what we imagined – stretched into a story, woven into a tapestry. Not only does our story go places we never imagined, with threads never imagined – but we are pulled into other’s stories, too – for quiet and loud marvelous effect.
Frayed threads pulled thin, sometimes thinner than we thought capable – but resilient showing a strength not fully realized until the the challenge shows itself.
Frayed threads pulled thin becoming a life-line to others, all because of Salvation walking among us.