Thursday, February 14, 2008

A Carbon Fast for Lent: Day 8 Again!

Turns out the UK version of the Carbon Fast list only has 40 entries, so Sundays are excluded. This is is right, of course, because all fasts are dispensed on Sundays, even in Lent. So I could go with the American version of the Carbon Fast, but I like the liturgical sensibilities of the UK version better. So that means today is Day 8 again. Is your phone charger unplugged if you aren't using it?

There was an interesting skip in the Scripture cycle for Morning Prayer today. We've been reading from the Joseph cycle in Genesis, and yesterday we finished up Ch. 37, with Joseph being sold into slavery. Today we were to read Ch. 39, which recounts how Joseph was blessed by God in all he did. He was also handsome and caught the eye of his master's wife, but she framed him when he wouldn't have sex with her. A little R-rated scripture to start off the day never hurt anyone....

But what about chapter 38? This is the unfortunate story of Judah and his daughter-in-law Tamar, and it's also R-rated. I can see how the lectionary editors would just skip it because it doesn't have too much to do with the main part of the Joseph story. But there's something I discovered while reading it today anyway. It was actually in a footnote. There were two children as a result of this liasion, Perez and his brother. What I didn't realize is that Perez is the ancestor of Boaz, Ruth, and Kind David, and therefore traditionally an ancestor of Jesus as well. And in fact Matthew's geneology of Jesus makes this very clear:

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 Aram, and Aram the father of Aminadab, and Aminadab 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 King David.

So the greatest King in Israel's history, the model for all kings after him, was a descendant of incest. If God can use all these sorts and conditions of humanity to work his will in the world, what can he do with you and me if we let him?

Strengthen us, O Lord, by your grace, that in your might we may overcome all spiritual enemies, and with pure hearts serve you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


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