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Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Messy Life

The beginning of Jesus story in Matthew is a genealogy. That seems a bit dry, boring even, for the start of such a story. But nevertheless, that's where it begins. It starts off well for the Jewish audience reading Matthew's words. They cheer on Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as the patriarchs of their people, but before long, the mess starts to creep in. The shameful story of Tamar and Judah is mentioned. The cheering becomes abashed mumbling, here in the lineage of patriarchs and kings is the story of a woman pretending to be a prostitute to seduce her father-in-law and get an heir.

Not much later is the story of Ruth and Boaz where Ruth makes it appear that Boaz has slept with her while he was drunk in order to back him into marriage. Then David, the man after God's own heart, is also the murdering adulterer.

By the time the genealogy gets to the kings of Judah the mess just keeps coming. There will be a few good kings, and then many bad kings. Finally the kingdom ends in exile for the people.

Jesus comes into this mess, not as a conquering king, but as a bastard child. Mess on top of mess. The story of Jesus is the story of us and our story is a mess. Jesus could have come and shown a parallel path, a different way that isn't filled with this mess. Instead, Jesus shows a way through. He looks to redeem the mess, not ignore it or replace it.

What do you do with the mess in your life? Do you seek to avoid it or to work through it?

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