We are now almost at the end of our series on Jesus' 'mother roots,' the women in the Matthean genealogy. I have enjoyed working with the stories and discovering new insights from them. It was one of those series that could have gone in umpteen directions, perhaps depending on the aims/preferences of the preacher.
If your thing is (social) justice there is plenty to go at - Tamar being treated like baggage, Rahab and the issues around prostitution, sex tourism and trafficking, etc, Ruth (or at least Naomi) with economic migrancy and (im)migrant labour and finally Bathsheba with all manner of things around marriage, family, adultery. Indeed any/all of the stories raise intriguing questions about society as a whole and faith communities in particular.
If your thing is God working beyond our expectations, beyond the church or even beyond professed faith, it's all there. Foreign women, adulterous relationships, decption - you name it, they do it along the way.
You could also use these stories to question some of our nice churchy attitudes - I even found one commentary that said it was fine that people lied, so long as it was for God's purposes - interesting! Oh, and of course one church member re-defined Rahab's occupation in a way beyond even what Matthew Henry does so unconvincingly!
In part, I chose to consider how knowledge of these umpty-great grannies might have influenced/foreshadowed Jesus' own attitudes to marginalised people. The woman in adultery, the woman at the well, the Roman centurion, the lepers, the tax-gatherers... If you know that your forebears were (or relatives/friends are) refugees, migrants, 'sinners' etc, maybe your attitude is different?
Now, as the series draws to its close, and because I am running out of time, I am looking at links and parallels between Bathsheba and Mary and between David and Joseph. Bathsheba does not even get named in Matthew 1, Mary is (according to tradition) 'ever blessed.' Both women knew great personal suffering, including death of their first born sons. David, the man 'after the Lord's heart' acts like a right **** while Joseph takes on another 'man's' son. I'm not going to push the connections too far, that's silly, but it is interesting.
Gods' "choice" of Grannies for Jesus is as fascinating as you could wish for. I am glad Jesus' forebears are diverse and 'colourful', I am glad that they include people of many races and statuses, I am glad that they challenge our nice churchy norms. I am glad, above all, that God is not constrained by our theology, doctrines or expectations.