Everybody is located in a story… you may have been told your story… or your story may be shrouded in some mystery. Every time I preside at a funeral or memorial service, I am struck by the breadth and depth of the stories that make up that person’s life. Part of my role as your minister is to help you locate yourself in God story… and the ancient story of God’s people. This morning, we have a video reading of the first chapter of Matthew… the genealogy of Jesus…
It’s from a new translation of the Bible, The First Nations Version New Testament, which was birthed out of a desire to provide an English Bible that connects, in a culturally relevant way, to the traditional heart languages of the over six million English-speaking First Nations people of North America. The FNV is a retelling of Creator’s Story from the Scriptures, attempting to follow the tradition of the storytellers of our oral cultures. Many of our Native tribes still resonate with the cultural and linguistic thought patterns found in their original tongues. This way of speaking, with its simple yet profound beauty and rich cultural idioms, still resonates in the hearts of Native people. M. Wildman, Terry. First Nations Version (p. IX). InterVarsity Press. Kindle Edition.
It will sound different to you, but in the difference, perhaps we can hear it with fresh ears.
That’s a long list of ancestors… many generations! The story of God’s people. What’s missing?
Where are the women? Where are the women? How can half the population locate themselves in the story when we don’t see ourselves reflected in the story?
The Rev. Dr. Wilda Gafney, an esteemed biblical scholar has created a new lectionary, it’s called A Woman’s Lectionary for the Whole World. It’s designed to include the stories of women, who are so often overlooked and ignored. Listen to the expansion of Jesus’ genealogy:
A genealogy of Jesus Christ,
the son of Mary, the daughter of Anna:
Sarah was the mother of Isaac,
And Rebekah was the mother of Jacob,
Leah was the mother of Judah,
Tamar was the mother of Perez.
The names of the mothers of Heron, Ram, Amminadab,
Nahshon and Salmon have been lost.
Rahab was the mother of Boaz,
and Ruth was the mother of Obed.
Obed’s wife, whose name is unknown, bore Jesse.
The wife of Jesse was the mother of David.
Bathsheba was the mother of Solomon,
Naamah, the Ammonite, was the mother of Rehoboam.
Maacah was the mother of Abijam and the grandmother of Asa.
Azubah was the mother of Jehoshaphat.
The name of Jehoram’s mother is unknown.
Achaliah was the mother of Ahaziah,
Zibiah of Beersheba, the mother of Joash.
Jecoliah of Jerusalem bore Uzziah,
Jerusha bore Jotham; Ahaz’s mother is unknown.
Abi was the mother of Hezekiah,
Hephzibah was the mother of Manasseh,
Meshullemeth was the mother of Amon,
Jedidah was the mother of Josiah.
Zebidah was the mother of Jehoiakim,
Nehushta was the mother of Jehoiachin,
Hamutal was the mother of Zedekiah.
Then the deportation of Babylon took place.
After the deportation to Babylon
the names of the mothers go unrecorded.
These are their sons:
Jechoniah, Shealtiel, Zerubbabel,
Abiud, Eliakim, Azor and Zadok,
Achim, Eliud, Eleazar,
Matthan, Jacob, and Joseph, the husband of Mary.
Of her was born Jesus who is called Christ.
The sum of generations is there:
fourteen from Sarah to David’s mother;
fourteen from Bathsheba to the Babylonian deportation;
and fourteen from the Babylonian deportation to Mary, the mother of Christ.
Aside from Mary, we don’t think much about the women in Jesus’ lineage do we? But that are equally as important aren’t they? Each one of us is the product of the generations behind us and we will impact the generations that come after us. And we are located in God’s story. Each one of a spark of the divine light and love.
Thanks be to God for the challenge and the opportunity, amen.
Matthew 1: 1-17
Isaiah 2: 1-5
November 27, 2022 – SMUC