A Lineage of Grace

I had the great joy of writing this poetic drama for the Ladies’ Christmas Brunch at our church . The theme of the morning was “Chosen and Redeemed.”  The piece is entitled “A Lineage of Grace,” and it tells the stories of four unlikely women who have a part in Jesus’s lineage: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Mary.

Tamar: The Forgotten One

My husband was wicked,
so horribly so,
that God struck him dead,
leaving me all alone.

According to the customs
and laws of the Jews,
his brother should take me,
but instead, he abused

And refused
to give me a child to call mine,
no son to continue
the family line.

When Judah, his father,
learned of his sin,
he assured me he’d make
things right once again.

He promised another
son of his own
to take on the duty
in time when he’d grown.

I waited and waited
for what he said he would do,
but with another promise broken,
I knew I was through.

Through with the lies,
through with the pain,
through with the waiting,
through with the games.

So I acted a whore
and covered my face,
for I knew that Judah
loved the thrill of the chase.

He approached me
and offered a deal for the task.
I asked for his ring and his cord
and his staff.

You see, I became pregnant
after the deed,
and these objects would prove
that the son was his seed.

Or sons, I should say,
for there was not one, but two.
I finally had
the sons I was due.

Looking back on my story,
I’m ashamed of my plans,
for taking the matter
Into my hands.

Desperate, I did
some things I regret,
but God, in his mercy,
did not forget

His daughter.

For from one of those seeds,
came redemption from sin.
Now Jesus, the Savior,
is one of my kin.

Rahab: The Harlot

I, too, sold my body
to men for a price.
I considered my sin
a necessary vice.

So I wasn’t surprised
when two men came at night,
but instead of “the usual”
they asked if I might

Help them.
You see, they were Israelite spies.
Their leader had sent them
to town in disguise.

The King found out
and sent troops to my door.
He had heard they were hiding
in the house of the whore.

But I had heard of their God
and fear melted my heart.
I knew he was real,
and I couldn’t take part

In helping the king
to kill these two spies,
so I told them they’d left
and misled them with lies.

In the meantime, the men
were on top of my roof,
so I asked for assurance
of safety, for proof

That my family would be spared
when they seized our land,
that none of my own
would die at their hand.

A life for a life,
they gave me their pledge
and a cord
to hang out my window ledge.

This cord of scarlet
indeed kept us alive.
They came in and conquered,
but my family survived.

And what’s more,
they took us in as their own,
not leaving us to face
a new world all alone.

As for me, I was rescued
in more ways than one.
God graciously gave me
a husband and son.

Once called the “harlot,”
I have a new name.
Daughter of God,
forgiven, no shame.

From my line, God would send
one more scarlet red cord–
the man you call Jesus,
the man I call “Lord.”

Ruth: The Widow

I was a widow.
My husband had died,
along with his father
and brothers beside.

With no man to marry
or give me an heir,
my mother-in-law thought
it would only be fair

To release me
and send me on my own way.
But instead of departing,
I decided to stay.

“Your people, my people,
your God, now my Lord.
I will go where you go
and board where you board.”

So we set off for Bethlehem,
a small little town.
The harvest had started,
barley cut down.

We arrived, and I gleaned
in the field of a man
named Boaz, a member
of my late husband’s clan.

Boaz, the son
of the harlot redeemed.
His mother once shameful,
her son now esteemed.

Boaz gave in abundance,
supplied every need.
He protected and blessed us–
a refuge indeed.

Naomi, my mother in-law,
advised me to go
and ask for redemption,
so that he might bestow

A blessing far greater
than barley or wheat.
So I heeded her counsel
and laid at his feet.

I asked for redemption,
a new kind of life–
That he take me, redeem me,
And make me his wife.

So he went to the elders
who sat at the gate
and asked for permission
to buy our estate.

He paid for the land,
purchased me as his own.
I was no longer forsaken,
no longer alone.

We, too, had a son
named Obed, and he
was the father of Jesse,
and from his family tree

Would come Great King David,
then the greatest of kings,
King Jesus, Redeemer,
Of whom my soul sings,

“Bless the Lord, for he
has not left me this day
without a redeemer.
He has shown me the way!”

The truth and the life
was born in a crèche
in the city of Bethlehem.
Flesh of my flesh.

Mary: The Virgin

A young, humble girl,
a virgin, engaged,

in an instant, my life
would forever be changed.

“Greetings!” said Gabriel.
“Do not be afraid!
You’ve found favor with God.
Do not be dismayed.”

“Behold, you’ll conceive in your womb
and give birth
to the Son of the Most high,
who’ll reign o’er the earth.”

The spirit would come,
overshadowing me.
The power of the Most High
would cause it to be.

Still, my heart pounded
right out of my chest.
Of all women, why
was I chosen and blessed?

How could it be
that I was the one
chosen for this–
to bear God’s own son?

He looked on his servant
of humble estate.
Exalting the lowly
to bear one who is great.

He’s shown strength with his arm
and has scattered the proud.
He has brought down the mighty,
the humble, endowed.

The hungry he fed.
The rich sent away.
He’s remembered his people,
though we’ve oft gone astray.

Oh merciful God,
Great things you have done.
My spirit rejoices
in Jesus, my son!

Redeemed by the son,
I was chosen to raise.
Chosen, redeemed,
to God be all praise!

Mothers of Jesus: Chosen and Redeemed

A prostitute.

None worthy of choosing,
yet now, we’re esteemed
as mothers of Jesus,
the Great High King.

We were chosen,
now Christ’s praises
we sing!

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