FOREMOTHERS OF CHRIST
By Leland Bryant ROSS, Dec. 7, 1996
Released to the Public Domain
I wrote this in memory of Jesus female ancestors, especially those in Matthew 1 (Luke 3 ignores women's part in the lineage entirely); Matthew singles out 5 -- out of a potential 42 -- for special mention, and interestingly they are all in some way (sexually or ethnically or both) scandalous. Each of the first five stanzas is intended to cap a brief homily on the woman in question and the iconoclasm of her inclusion among Jesus' forebears, with a summation on the shock of the gospel preceding stanzas 6-8.1: TamarGen. 38: impersonates prostitute in order to get her father-in-law to impregnate herWho'd have thought the Lord Almighty
from all women on the earth
Would have chosen Tamar the wily
to prepare for Jesus' birth?
But he chose her, and we laud her
for her chutzpah and her brains,
In gratitude we applaud her:
Hallelujah! Jesus reigns!
2: RahabJos. 2: traitor to her country, Jericho; bordellistaWho would dream the God of Moses,
and of Joshua son of Nun,
Would elect a Jericho harlot
and a traitor for his Son
To descend from? Yet he picked her!
Praise the wisdom of his choice:
Hallelujah! God is with us!
Let us marvel and rejoice!
3: RuthGen. 19: illegal alien descended from the incestuous survivors of SodomWho'd imagine, of all nations,
God would call on Moab's aid
To advance the cause of salvation?
that a needed role played
A widowed exile sprung from Sodom
and from incest that her part
Would be great-grandmother, in Israel,
of a man after God's own heart?
4: Bathsheba2 Sam. 11: she's cute; have him killedWho would guess that when, in wartime,
on her roof Bathsheba lay
And occasioned maybe the worst crime
in the annals of her day,
God, the righteous Lord of Zion
through that lust would vict'ry win,
From their union bringing a scion
who'd annihilate all sin.
5: MaryLuke 1: the word on the street is, it was a Roman soldierWho'd suppose a country girl
such as Mary would attract
The Creator of the whole world?
But she did, and that's a fact.
She conceived and bore a child
by the Spirit of the Lord
Our Redeemer, "meek and mild",
sharper than a two-edged sword!
Who'd believe that these five ladies,
and so many nameless more,
In God's great assault upon Hades
would be called and chosen for
The advancement to perfection
of the Lord's ongoing plan
By a process of election
to bring forth the Son of Man?
Mudstained cloth and damaged vessels
are the means our Lord has used,
Yet our sense of pride still wrestles
with the meaning of these truths:
Not the holy and the haughty,
but the humble and the flawed
Be they prostitutes or monarchs
are the forebears of our God.
So we sing their praises gladly,
named and nameless, brash and shy,
For the offspring of their body
is the Apple of God's eye!
Melody : CHEATING GAME
Leland Bryant ROSS, 1996
When I made up the tune, I thought I was imitating "Scarlet Ribbons",
but it turns out the similarity is much greater to "Silver Threads and Golden Ribbons"
to whose proprietors I apologize for the trespass.
Here's another MIDI that is still closer to STGR (source unknown)
estas filia TTTejo de