Daily thoughts during this worldwide crisis.
There are times when I am ashamed of my brothers and sisters in Christ. We have been violent, racist, misogynist, and exclusive. We have failed to live up to what we say we believe. We squabble, fight, and occasionally take up arms against each other and start shooting. There is nothing that the church cannot be accused of which she has not done.
It is a good thing that it is not our behavior, but the love and action of God through Christ and the Holy Spirit that saves us. We are hopeless on our own. And if you think things are bad where the church exists in the world, have an honest look at those times and places where it has been banned – (Soviet Russia, Cambodia, China).
So long as we judge one another’s qualification for salvation by morality that we think other people should have we will continue to condemn the best hope the world has for peace. There is a never-ending stream of frustrated Christians who have had enough of the nonsense who are quite willing to leave and point out all the faults (which is always a selective list) of those who stay.
Good thing Jesus did not think that way. He was all in with the mess. Just look at the beginning of the Gospel of Matthew. It is all there – squabbling brothers, a prostitute, a Moabitess, an ideal king who committed adultery, punishment for idolatry in the form of deportation to Babylon. They knew all the names. They knew the story with all its failures. So did God. And at the end of this genealogy of shame, there he is – part of the mess – Jesus.
This is the first thing Matthew wants us to know about the savior of the world. Soon afterward he goes to John the Baptist to be baptized “to fulfil all righteousness.” He was born into the mess and now he is fully identifying with it. With us. He did not leave out of frustration, he criticized plenty, but mostly he healed – from within.
If you happen to consider yourself a good enlightened Christian, I submit two prayers – stay humble and stay.
The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram, and Ram the father of Amminadab, and Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David the king.
And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asa, and Asa the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah, and Uzziah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos, and Amos the father of Josiah, and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon.
And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Shealtiel, and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor, and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud, and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ.