Saturday, 1 September 2012

texting matthew one

Let's start over, theologically. 07729056452

Mt1v1-2 v1 Genealogy. Not the gnosis of right-Knowing superapostles 2Cor11v5, not spiritual intelligence or SQ: Christianity is first a right-Being by a rebirth not of our own doing, being grafted into a Jewish vine, rooted in history, made possible by gardener Jesus' life-death-rising in history. By this we are inheritors of an OT continuity, beneficiaries of a promise, participants in a covenant that has endured. This is why we retell the Jesus story, this is why we tell our biographies: because redemption is stories to tell. .. Two promises for us: [1] v1 via David 2Sm7v14 God will be as your Father-King. The royal inheritance and role that Jesus fulfils and subverts is also for us and in us to do likewise in this new Servant-Kingdom. .. [2] via Abram Gn12v3 You will be great to be a great blessing. .. v2 A genealogy of elect cowards: the ill-deserving Abraham, Isaac, Jacob Gn12v13, 26v6, 31v26. Such as we in our story.

Mt1v3-4 Bringing the OT into the new, like an infant and a caregiver. The separation process, where the infant must discover themselves as self and the other as other, must test these boundaries, & there is a right distance between each generation. The parents create the container, the map, without them there is only void...but they do not provide the detail of the journey, and the next generation weigh & waits & integrates anew. So each verse in the genealogy contains within it a struggle of inheritance & evolution, very literally, the extraordinary existential wrestle for making sense of all this. Let us wonder at this human process, & let us think about our Jewish predecessors as the parents we have to learn not to passively inherit. How so? What wisdom? Like Zechariah's donkey subverted. Jesus, whisper something in response to Judah & Tamar's Gn38 brokenness, for here & now.

Mt1v5-6 What is meant by detailing the cameos of Jesus' all-star ancestry? There is more here than proving the legal minimum of a generic Jewishness inherited. Did Jesus, by nature and nurture, receive and extend specific virtues from this line? Did Jesus inherit Rahab's savvy Josh2v4? And in this, can we understand Rahab teaching a type of Christ-mothering? That she, in hiding spies on the roof enacts a parallel to the precious Jewish Col1v25 mystery hidden in her womb? And if Rahab is mother, then Jesus is the spies, in-breaking Mt12v29? And this pregnancy is Rahab's work demonstrating faith Jam2v25, as the faith of all pregnancy, and like all the midwifery of evangelism that leads to new birth? .. And did Jesus gain from Boaz the virtue of redemptive romance, which was present in Joseph and Mary's marriage, and endures in Christ's marriage to his church? .. Christianity in its history and practice is genealogical, what have you inherited?

Mt1v7-8 Jesus tells us in the same breath Rv22v16, he is the descendant of David & the bright morning star. These things somehow important together in holding together his humanity & divinity. Meditate on this, new mornings, morning star, real & illuminating & beautiful to behold, yet sprung from David's 2Sm11 unfaithful selfishness. God has grace enough, know it again, now just in theory, not just in other people's stories. God's beauty from brokenness is a kindness & a healing, an evidence of blamelessness & belovedness, quick we are to forget. Jesus' birth is the victory over our memories, imaginations & habits towards His new thing. So David's 51st Psalm, with incredulity & gratitude.

Mt1v9-10 In this genealogy, as in life, there are not good guys and bad guys: there are bad guys and Jesus. Jotham – bad 2Ki15v35; Ahaz – very bad 2Ki16v2-4; Hezekiah – initially promising 2Ki18v3-5, then bad 2Chr32v25.. Such are we, so lucky are we to have another's righteousness imputed despite our just desert. .. While we are speaking of genealogies, which are begettings, which is conceiving, I would love to crowd-source a theology of contraception from the smattering of sacred-textees. Noting from today's characters that Ahaz's highest sin was infantcide, and Hezekiah's final judgement was child exile, and that was because Manasseh had relapsed to child sacrifice. What form of idolatry leads to this conception of conception? What possible motive force is behind the anti-genealogy of Ahaz's attitude to children? How can this inform and moderate Phil's theology of contraception? Too much? Help me please.

John Guillebaud has written expert books on contraception both for users and prescribers. He is a cheerful Christian.

Mt1v11-12 There is a rupture in direct biological inheritance between v11 Josiah and Jechoniah 2Ki24v17, as I navigate these names. Grace and nature then, there is grace in nature, but grace also expands & subverts & overcomes nature, mercifully. So the familyless can become family and the lion may lie down with the lamb. So grace expands & subverts the concept of a natural family, perhaps, taking it beyond biological children. How then do we live, with this grace that throws open doors? I am still struggling for an eschatology to guide me, where is the nature and where the grace in Mt22v30? A genuine question.. Also, that the begettings are here punctuated by exile & return, these important events in our collective cultural consciousness, the background within which we search for God, all Sebald & Frankl. 'Exile' and 'Home', felt from the inside, this is how we know we are spiritual creatures seeking.

Mt1v13-14 Penultimate genealogising for now. Struck by Zerubbabel, the architect-king rebuilding the temple in Ezra, a Levirite adoptee who is transfused into the bloodline from 1Chr3v19 'Son of Pedaiah..' to the later Ez3v2 'Son of Shealtiel..' - Such are we in this genealogy: Adopted, no longer slaves but sons Gal4v7, if sons then heirs Rm8v17, and if we endure, we shall reign 2Ti2v12. .. And of endurance to return to Zerubbabel, we see in him the Davidic line weathering exile, where his name even means 'begotten in Babylon' he returns home, having retained the distinctives of his royal Jewish identity. In the same way we trust God to keep us for himself and to keep for us himself – as he promised Zerubabbel: 'Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit' Zec4v6 – in this same promise we build, from out of our exiles, into new identities as sons of the King. So, go, pregnant with post-exilic possibility.

Mt1v15-16 If I was v16 Joseph I would continue to ache. Even where v20 fear has been cast out, your wife giving birth to a child that wasn't yours must ache in the guts still, even alongside the v22 hope the messiah stepchild promises, even alongside love, without blame or panic attacks or the demanding of one's rights. Even alongside worship and trust of God's way. Lingering sadness. I remember a line from Lauren Winner about going to Jesus with our sadness. How did Joseph do this day by day? How do we hold joy and heartache? What can I learn? Maybe I am wrong, maybe there was nothing lingering, Jesus is the great physician. Only a God can save us, only a God can heal us. Please come into each ache, God, even here, your Kingdom come, your will not ours.

Mt1v18-17 '..found to be with child by the Holy Spirit' as if crazy happened all the time, rather as Gn1v16 '..and he also made the stars.' There is a sublime nonchalence. God can do all things, you know. .. Of immaculate conception and that which the Holy Spirit is bringing to birth within you – God's timing can be inconvenient, unloving even in its scandalous impropriety. Why would God choose to break in during so happy an engagement? Perhaps we can receive that time is short, and God's new thing is always breaking in, already, now. So while God's work, done God's way will never lack God's surprise, let us seek Paul's Ac21v13 I-am-ready, knowing that God can do all things, you know.

Mt1v19-20 v20 'but as he considered these things' – Joseph's initial decision was not reactive of angry, but considered, premised on v19 justice & kindness. He was making the best decision-making with what he had before him, and in so is beyond reproach. But in weighing and praying he leaves himself open to the angelic prophetic, breaking in and rupturing his understanding of the right thing. Let it be so with us. Lord God, we are considering so many things, there are decisions to be made. We want to hold these prayerfully before you, and we will press on, trying our best, but you have permission to tell us otherwise and we are thirsty for you.

Mt1v21-22 Do not fear (v20) How? [1] The angel argues for fearlessness on the basis of prophecy fulfilled: promises in the past came to pass (virgin bearing son), therefore promises for your future will work out ok (son saving people). [2] The case from prophecy is an argument from God's character: You can be fearless at all times in all situations, if (and only if?) the ultimate power in the universe is sovereign-and-good-and-unchanging. We know this is so because we know Jesus (and only because we know Jesus?) [3] We can be fearless because God is Immanuel, that is, personal, present, engaged, With-Us. We fear because we are naked Gn3v10, Mk14v52. We are naked in being shameful, fallible, guilty, so vulnerable, but God clothes us Mk16v5. Know yourself beclothed in blamelessness and belovedness today. So don't be afraid Mt14v27, don't be afraid  Mt28v10, don't be afraid  Lk1v30, don't be afraid  Lk5v10, don't be afraid  Ac18v9.

So, we won't be afraid... Because it will be alright in the end, Someone's got a plan, a child will be born. What about if we fear the journey there? The child birth, the fight, the struggle, the persecution … I wonder if fear is as legitimate an emotion as grief? … Does fear have to mean a lack of faith? I'll still trust the doctor to fix me, even though I feat the treatment he prescribes and know he'll be present. Fear doesn't have to make people immobile. Are there different sorts of fear?

There is a question for the greek perhaps.. I wonder if we could split it don't-be-afraid vs don't-feel-afraid? There is an every-tear-wiped-away eschatological resurrection reality that is always there for us to choose: after this surgery I will be better, after this run there will be cake, after this death there will be life. By faith we choose to understand our present conditions as being an overcomeable part of a bigger story, and on that basis we do not 'be' afraid as a debilitating resting state. To compare it to grief, where Jesus wept is interesting. What should we fear? As, what was Jesus grieved by? .. As, don't fear man who kills the body, but fear God who can but body and soul into hell.. All fear is a revering a sovereign power bigger than ourselves, and we fear needlessly because we forget the true scale of things, we are God's kids, but we give power to idols by fearing them.

Is41v10 So do not fear for I am with you, do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Listening to the Treneers expositing David and Goliath from 2008 Reps conference: It is possible to be imprisoned by fear – such am I at my worst, and it need not be. So, learning to kill lions and bears in my quiet times, so fearlessly to fight goliath in public, at home, at work, at play.

Mt1v23-24 v23 Immanuel Immanuel! God-with-us. Ps139v18 and when I wake up, you are still with me. With-me-with-us. In through by Col1v15-22 Jesus. So v24 when we wake up, we can do what the Lord commands, all obedience, decision and action, as Joseph's, born from the psalmist's epistemology of the morning's continuity of Christ-presence. Thank God He is With-Us.

Mt1v23-24 The name 'Immanuel' wasn't diluted or washed down by the second name, the name given at birth, the name of the carpenter. It became a dry and crackling fact. More like a number than a name, made alive by the thing counted, or this time, counted on.

Mt1v25 'Jesus', esvsb contrasts, is his doing, where 'Immanuel' is his being. Both are good news. Our God is a being and a doing, a being-with-us and a doing-for-us. That is, God is not the absentee landlord deistically far far away, he is with-us, close as hands and feet, near as breathing, among two or three gathered, his Kingdom is within you. .. And, doing-for, he lived the life we could not live and died the death we should have died, God is an active ingredient, interfering, in-breaking. .. 'Jesus' is a cry of the heart by humans who need saving and who know they need saving. .. There is something charming and profound about the Jewish euphemism to 'know' one's wife. Do I know Jesus? Do I merely know about him? Knowing Jesus and making him known necessarily begins with this sort of ecstatic union and communion.

Have also been thinking about knowing – Peter uses the word 'knowledge' 5 times in the opening 8 verses. There is knowing (gnosis) and then there is knowing (epignosis): the-gathering-of-knowledge-about vs the beautifully intimate knowing-of the one who calls and is brother, lover, shepherd, master. I don't want merely to know about but to know. Grace and peace (2Pt1v2) do not come through the head but the heart. And yet we are called to pursue head knowledge in order to help us to know. I long to know much of Jesus that I might know him better and deeper and be more in awe – to add to (v5) that initial moment of heart-knowing when we first see who Christ is in order that I do now become lethargic (v8). To know is to speak (Ac4v20) and to speak is to be made known as one who knows Christ (Ac4v13) and has been with him, which, is why we were called (Mk3v14)

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