Advent is an important time of preparation – not for Christmas festivities – but for the birth of God incarnate. As part of that, we are going to take a look at the ancestresses of Jesus, who are named in the first chapter of Matthew (Matthew’s begats). The five listed, Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, and Mary have important stories that help us understand God’s work in the world before actually becoming human. We don’t usually hear much about them, because they don’t all appear in the lectionary. I think one big reason for this is their stories are a bit Rrated.
In addition to stories of sex and violence, these women turn the judgement of humans’ upside down. Israelites weren’t supposed to marry outside of their own nation. Yet, three of the ancestresses were from outside, Tamar, Rahab, and Ruth. Generally speaking, prostitution has been seen as a sinful form of employment, but both Tamar and Rahab were prostitutes. Ruth propositioned Boaz! And Mary became pregnant outside of marriage. Bathsheba, the only one to be viewed as a sultry temptress, can be recognized through our modern #metoo lens as a victim.
When we look at these five women collectively, we see that God has always been in
relationship with humanity. Even before becoming incarnated as a baby, God was involved in the messiness of the world. Time after time when humanity thought they had worked everything out,
God saw the oppressed and didn’t just help them, God set them up as key players. Who are we disregarding in the world today? Where is God working to set up the oppressed as key players? These are important questions to ask for those of us wanting to participate in the Mission of God.
I will be preaching on two of the women in Sunday services Dec. 2 and 23. The other three will be covered in Wednesday lunch sessions on Dec. 5, 12, and 19. If you would like to take a look at the women in scripture here is a reading guide:
Weekly Advent Worship Service EACH Wednesday
December 5, 12, & 19 at 12:00 NOON
Advent Worship, Soup & Bread In the Assembly Room.
Vicar Kimberly will be leading our Advent worship/study. She is leading a series on the Ancestresses of Jesus mentioned in Matthew 1. On December 6, Rahab, on December 12, Ruth, and December 19, Bathsheba. (She will be preaching about Tamar on December 2, and Mary on December 23.)
Come enjoy our weekly Advent Celebration of seasonal worship along with warm fellowship including homemade soup and bread.