7 February, 2023

Showing Up

by | 28 November, 2022 | 2 comments

By Jill Richardson 

The genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1 is striking. Not only does it include four women, something no one of his era would think to do, but, oh, what women he includes! All four can be characterized as outcasts, for one reason or another. One woman acted like a prostitute to secure a child. One woman was a prostitute . . . and a foreign enemy at that. One was an impoverished immigrant and widow from a hated land. And the fourth woman, a victim of sexual violence, was often blamed for her own painful circumstances.  

Why these four? Wouldn’t most of us choose to leave out the sketchier members of our family tree, if given the chance? Wouldn’t we want to paint our lineage in a better light? 

Communion reminds us of a beautiful part of the Christmas story. Jesus didn’t come just to help the sharply dressed or just to help the grubby. He didn’t choose just the poor or just the rich or just the important.  

In one parable, Jesus told of “a certain man [who] was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests” (Luke 14:16). When those who were invited made excuses not to attend, “the owner of the house became angry” and told his servant to “go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame” (14:21).  

The parable rightfully leads us to conclude that Christmas isn’t just for those who will clean up and look good at the celebration. It’s for those who will show up. It’s for those in need of a Savior who will fall down beside the cradle and before the cross. And the genealogy from Matthew 1 reminds us we all have skeletons in our closets. 

The same is true of the Lord’s Supper. 

Jesus invites us to come to his feast—to this Communion table to share in the bread and the cup—however we are, grateful to now be in his family . . . just like those four women. We leave, joyous that he has chosen to include us in his story. 

Dr. Jill Richardson is an author, speaker, and pastor at Real Hope Community Church in Oswego, Illinois.  

2 Comments

  1. Jim

    I like this meditation but I have a question. Is the last woman in reference to Mary? If so, how was she “a victim of sexual violence,” … and … “was often blamed for her own painful circumstances.” ?

  2. Jim

    After reading the 1st chapter of Matthew I realized that Bathsheba was the victim of sexual violence and is sometimes blamed for this. Five women in this chapter – Bathsheba is the one not named. Good meditation!

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