Genealogy and Hope

There’s one more prompt at the end of this chapter in Writing in the Margins:

Turn to Matthew 1, the genealogy of Jesus.  In the margins, jot down you genealogy as far back as you can remember.  How does God use genealogies to speak to us?  What is the point of the genealogy of Jesus?  What is the hope of your genealogy?

How does God use genealogies to speak to us?

In quieter moments, I like to reflect on the marriage of Sarah and Abraham and the impact their union continues to have on all subsequent generations of their family.  Thousands of years later, the story is remembered of Abraham’s faith, of just how long it took Sarah to get pregnant, and of the miracle of Isaac’s life.  The stories of our ancestors become part of who we are.  Marriages are part of the intricately woven fabric of human life and help answer, on a basic level, questions regarding our existence and how we came to be.   Sarah and Abraham remind me that when God brings two people together a whole new world is created; the future is changed forever.  So often, we live in the moment, but genealogies remind me that God’s perspective is eternal.

What is the point of the genealogy of Jesus?

To me, the genealogy of Jesus suggests that he arrived in the fullness of time, that his life is firmly rooted in the story of the Hebrew people, and that he is the fulfillment of prophecy.  But I’ve always wondered why it shows the genealogy of Joseph?  My puzzlement makes me wonder if everything we know now about pregnancy and genetics colors my view of fatherhood in a way that it didn’t in Biblical times.  Joseph was Jesus’ father because he helped preserve his life and provide for him as Mary’s husband.  One more thing the genealogies suggest to me:  it took a lot of prior marriages to create the perfect father for Jesus.

What is the hope of your genealogy?

First I should say, I didn’t do a complete genealogy, I just mapped out a super-easy branch of my family tree.  (My margin-writing grandmother was also a member of DAR, and as luck would have it, I have a copy of her application.)  The most incredible thing to me about this experience is just having the knowledge that the 1st generation American ancestor whom I happen to know the most about was Presbyterian and lived not too far from my current home.  As I thought about his move from Scotland to the USA and about how many of his descendants moved west, I could feel the hope for a better life—one of love, faith, health, freedom, and opportunity.

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I wrote the preceding words late in the evening and woke up with these words ringing in my ear:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

And thought/felt/heard: “Daughter of the American Revolution.”  This journey through Writing in the Margins keeps taking me in wildly unexpected places!

 

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