God of the multitudes and the particular – Br. Todd Blackham

Br. Todd Blackham

Gen. 49:2,8-10
Ps. 72:1-8
Mt. 1:1-7,(8-16) 17

This is the time of year when the long, dark nights dominate and creep ever further into our waking lives.  They obscure ordinarily bright paths and make the late afternoon disappear into dusk as it’s barely begun.  Below, the ground is cast in darkness, but above the stars shine out longer and brighter.  There are more hours to behold that vast glittering expanse of stars and planets.  And, it’s one of my favorite moments when among those stars, the constellations begin to make themselves known.  Usually a familiar and bright formation like Orion’s belt catches my eye.  With that as a reference point, all sorts of other shapes take form as dimmer, obscure points find their way into a larger picture. It’s a magnificent dance to behold and one that humans have been captivated by since they first gazed up into the glittering dome of sky.

The genealogy of Jesus here in the gospel of Matthew stands out like a bright constellation among the multitudes of God’s human creation.  Within it, there are bright familiar figures, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Rahab, Ruth and David.  They have rich and vibrant stories of God’s promise and provision.  And there are more obscure characters, Salathiel, Abiud, and Matthan.  They’re lives were not as abundantly captured in Scripture but that their names stand in line with the rest is what really matters.

What this specific list indicates is that God is supreme over all nations as well as of a particular people.  The Lord is God of the mighty, as well as the obscure.  Our Father is the creator of the multitudes, and the caretaker of the particular.  He is a hidden God, and yet has made himself known in Jesus.  The line that brought forth the savior is the testimony of God’s promise and fulfillment. Jesus stands as the root and source, as well as the consummation and end.

And all this is the adopted lineage of Jesus.  This is the line of the man Joseph who said yes to care for Mary the mother of God and her Son, our Savior.  And, inasmuch and Joseph was willing to adopt Jesus as his own, so Jesus has made the way for our adoption as children of the God of the vast universe and the God of each of our human hearts.  Like those awe-inspiring constellations held together by the points of diverse stars, so are we knit together in Christ who fulfills the awesome purposes of God.

As the Advent of our Savior draws near, remember again whose we are.  From time immemorial, the immense and unfathomable God has worked in special and particular love to draw all people to himself through the beloved Son, Jesus, our brother, our Lord.  God of the cosmos has come to adopt us and bring us close, so close that we might hold him in our hands, that we might know him in bread and wine, being joined together in his mystical body until he comes again.  Even so, come, Lord Jesus, come.

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