Donna Stewart spoke on the somewhat elusive figure in Genesis 38, Tamar, one of Jesus’ ancestors. This is both a hopeful story and, at the same time, a sordid account of Judah and his sons refusing to honour revered traditions established to ensure that a widow’s welfare is cared for honourably. According to the story, Onan refused to take Tamar as his wife, possibly because this would have eventually lessened his own inheritance and honoured his deceased brother. Judah likewise found ways to avoid his responsibilities. Tamar, however, knew the system, how it worked, and how to work it. By dressing as a veiled sacred prostitute, she was invited to have relations with none other than Judah himself. When her pregnancy was discovered by the community, Judah ordered her to be burned alive. But when Tamar returned to him his staff and signet scroll (given to her as security), Judah confessed both his sin of laying with her and his sin of not making rightful provision for her, freely admitting that “she is more righteous than I”. Donna then emphasized the hopeful aspects of the story. Although Judah obviously had problems, he at least admitted his errors when openly confronted by them. Although he attempted to stop the line of his dead son, he was in fact given two sons (twins) by Tamar. Furthermore, the story reveals that Jesus, the Son of God, did not come from a long line of saints, but from very real people who had truly human qualities and difficulties. Although modern Christians are far more concerned with moral sins than with economic, scripture itself focuses primarily on sins which relate to money, wealth and financial resources. Donna then reminded us that Jesus declared that his mission was to preach the Good News to the poor, yet in British Columbia government keeps eroding the financial resources of its citizen ‘widows’ of today, particularly its single mothers, the very group that was to enjoy protection in ancient times. This hardly represents progress, either socially or morally. [JEK]
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