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Perfection or Human - Jesus Family Tree

Rev’d Peter Knott SJ

Jesus’ family tree and bloodline were far from perfect, his family were human and we need to keep this in mind whenever we are tempted to believe in Jesus but to reject the Church because of its faults and failings. There is much in Jesus’ origins, that is just as disturbing as any contemporary church scandal.

In the genealogy of Jesus the gospels point to as many liars and schemers in his lineage as they do honest people and men, and women of faith. We see in Jesus' genealogy a number of men who didn't exactly show the love, justice, and purity of Jesus.

Abraham unfairly banished Ishmael and his mother, Hagar; Jacob, by scheming and dishonesty, stole his brother Esau's birthright; and David, to whom Jesus explicitly connects himself, committed adultery and then had the husband of his mistress murdered to cover up an unwanted pregnancy and in order to marry her.

Some of the women mentioned in Jesus’ background weren't much better, or like Ruth, were outsiders in a religious sense. Tamar, who seduced her father-in-law, Judah, so that she could have a child; Rahab, also an outsider, was a prostitute; Bathsheba who committed adultery with David and then schemed to make sure one of her own offspring inherited the throne.

They found themselves in a situation of marriage or pregnancy that was strange or scandalous, yet each was an important divine instrument in preserving the religious heritage that gave us Jesus: and the gospels link these women to Mary, Jesus’ mother, who became pregnant in a unique marital situation.

Beyond these characters in Jesus’ lineage, we see that some of the institutions that shaped the Jewish faith were also less than saintly.

Institutionalised religion then suffered from many of the same problems it has today, including the corrupt use of power. Israel seized the land of Canaan from those who had a prior claim to it, declaring ownership by divine privilege.

We see too that the lineage that gave us Jesus was built up not just on the great and the talented, but equally upon the poor and the insignificant. Among those who make up the ancestors of Jesus, we find some who are famous and others quite unknown.

What all this tells us is that ‘God writes straight with crooked lines,’ and that our own lives, even if marked by weakness and insignificance, are important too in continuing the work of the incarnation, by becoming Christ for others.

‘The God who wrote the beginnings with crooked lines also writes the sequence with crooked lines, and some of those lines are our own lives and witness. A God who did not hesitate to use the scheming as well as the noble, the impure as well as the pure, men to whom the world harkened and women upon whom the world frowned - this God continues to work through the same mélange.

If it is a challenge to recognise that totally unknown people were part of the story of Jesus Christ, it may be a greater challenge to recognise that the unknown characters of today are an essential part of the sequence.’

Raymond Brown. Christianity isn't just for the saintly, the talented, the humble and the honest. The story of Jesus Christ was also written and continues to be written by sinners, schemers, the proud, the dishonest, and the undistinguished.

This does not justify complacency: it does call for compassion. No one is so bad, so insignificant or so outside the circle of faith, that they are outside the story of Christ. Rev’d Peter Knott SJ


CONFIRMATION At Baptism, our parents and god-parents made promises – on our behalf - about bringing us up with some knowledge of the Christian Faith.

From the age of about 11years old, individuals can decide to make those promises for themselves; this is called Confirmation. This decision is about accepting the love of Christ in our lives, and taking upon ourselves the journey of life that Jesus invites us on, to explore, discover and grow in his love for us and for our world. Once Confirmed, individuals may receive Communion for the rest of their lives.

Anyone is interested in being Confirmed on 28th September, (and in taking part in the four, forty minute study groups leading up to it) please contact the vicar by using the contact box below.

Your Name :
Your Email :
Message :
Enter 'HUMAN' :

Evensongs for the Deanery

Members of the Deanery are especially invited to the Evensongs listed below. These are in place of the usual Deanery Evensong Service held in the summer. The recent one held at Dowlish Wake was very well attended, a lovely service and finished off with light refreshments

Sunday 20th July – Forde Abbey – 3.30pm NOTE 3.30pm
Sunday 24th August – St. Nicholas Corfe – 6.30pm

From the Church Registers

17th May: Paul Freeman & Sarah Rowswell, joined in Holy Matrimony
28th May: Luke Rance & Katherine Garrett, joined in Holy Matrimony

Appreciate everything

Appreciate every single thing you have, especially your friends! Life is too short and friends are too few!

  1. My husband and I divorced over religious differences. He thought he was God and I didn't.
  2. I don't suffer from insanity; I enjoy every minute of it.
  3. Some people are alive only because it's illegal to kill them.
  4. I used to have a handle on life, but it broke.
  5. Don't take life too seriously; no-one gets out alive.
  6. You're just jealous because the voices only talk to me.
  7. Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder.
  8. Earth is the insane asylum for the universe.
  9. I'm not a complete idiot – some parts are just missing.
  10. Out of my mind. Back in five minutes.
church/vicars_letters/july2008.txt · Last modified: d/m/Y H:M (external edit)