Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Breakfast in Advent

As I make gingerbread men people, I am reminded of the women whose stories are part of The Big Story. The God Story. The Jesus Story.

I shape hair for the head, and I think of a woman who covered her face so she could not be recognised: Tamar. Tamar, who was Judah's daughter-in-law. Judah, the son of Jacob who had merely sold his brother Joseph into slavery, rather than acquiesce to his killing by the jealous brothers. Tamar, widowed once, rejected by the second brother who should have married her. Tamar, so desperate for children, that she covered her face and disguised herself as a prostitute, enticing her father in law to sleep with her and so ensure that she would not be killed and that her child would be born.
That child was Perez, in Jesus' family tree as a son of Judah.

Are as desperate for God as Tamar was for a child? Are we more desperate for things other than God? How can we do this, when busyness crowds our lives?

The hands of Rahab, letting down a scarlet cord from her window as a sign that she and her household were to be spared by the invading Israelites. Rahab, who risked disgrace, alienation and death to save two foreign men who had visited her brothel. Rahab, who recognised God at work in the Israelites and wanted to be part of that.

How do we recognise God at work? What do we risk, if we 'join in with what God is doing' as Rowan Williams (former Archbishop of Canterbury) has said?

The feet of Boaz, Ruth's husband. Ruth, who risked scorn, humiliation and disgrace to throw herself at a man's feet, tantamount to begging him to marry her. " Boaz had a good time, eating and drinking his fill—he felt great. Then he went off to get some sleep, lying down at the end of a stack of barley. Ruth quietly followed; she lay down to signal her availability for marriage."

The body of Christ. All working together in unison. "The way God designed our bodies is a model for understanding our lives together as a church: every part dependent on every other part, the parts we mention and the parts we don’t, the parts we see and the parts we don’t. If one part hurts, every other part is involved in the hurt, and in the healing. If one part flourishes, every other part enters into the exuberance.

You are Christ’s body—that’s who you are! You must never forget this. Only as you accept your part of that body does your “part” mean anything."

And I think of the parts of the body to be careful of. The tongue, which can be so divisive. The eyes, which can be haughty. The hands, which should not lie idle. The feet, ready to take the good news of the Gospel to wherever God wants them to go.

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