Lament for Aleppo

WARNING: This video contains distressing, graphic images from Aleppo. I recommend watching it but muting the sound, as the images alone are very powerful.

I caught sight of a friend’s post this afternoon that linked to a news report about Aleppo. The quote in the article read, “Aleppo is a place where the children have stopped crying.” My eyes rose to the movie that had begun to play. I was at work, so I muted the sound. A little boy of maybe three or four sat on a table in an orange sweatshirt, his hair tousled, eyes full of horror, lips pressed together, a wound on his forehead. His small hands touched, the fingers brushed against each other. He stared sadly at those examining him. Oh, be gentle, I pleaded silently.
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Oh dear God.

A mother wailed that she had lost all of her children.

A teenage boy sobbed as he clasped the body of his infant baby brother.
Oh God, these dear ones made in Your image… There are thousands.

I cannot ignore this. I weep for the horrors they have seen, the terror on their faces, the agony and despair. I weep because while I have never experienced their specific losses, I know what it feels like to be shattered, traumatized, lost and overwhelmed. My heart breaks, spills over.

I sit alone in the darkness with Christmas lights overhead, and I believe with my whole heart that my God sees and knows and cares, both for them and for me. He knows the depth of their pain and He understands mine. He was here.

Here.

My God came here into the mess, the horror, the sadness, the chaos of this world. And He didn’t come with walls and barriers to shield Himself from it all – no, He embodied it, He suffered, and then He conquered it. So in all the sadness I cling to Him, my hope.

I ask, Oh God, who will care for them? Who will help them? Can I? Will You? Please show me how. Please show them mercy. Please, please, please save them.

Save us.

Save me.

Lauren McWilliams

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What’s in a Genealogy?

 

Dictionary Series - Miscellaneous: genealogy

Matthew 1:1-17

What’s more boring than a genealogy in the Bible? Some of the names are unpronounceable. We know little to nothing about some of the names in the list. They are mostly meaningless to us. Many readers skip over these genealogies to get to the real story, but occasionally, embedded in what feels like an endless list of who begot whom’s, there is an interesting discovery.

In a time when genealogies didn’t normally contain the name of even a single woman, Jesus’ genealogy mentions five. There was Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, the wife of Uriah who is Bathsheba and finally Mary. Their lives were anything but boring! Tamar was the childless widow of Er the eldest son of Judah. The only security a woman had in the ancient world was tied to her husband and her sons. Denied by both Judah’s surviving sons, in desperation she does something almost unthinkable. Tamar disguises herself as a prostitute to trick her father-in-law, Judah, into having sex with her. She conceives two twin boys, one of whom is in the lineage of Jesus.

The second woman referenced was Rahab. She did not pose as a prostitute; she clearly was a prostitute. Later she became the great-great-grandmother of King David. Ruth is the third woman mentioned. She wasn’t even a Hebrew but a Moabite, an outsider, and when her Jewish husband died, her mother-in-law tried to send her back to her own people. The next female ancestor in the list is Bathsheba, who had an adulterous relationship with King David. The final woman mentioned was Mary. Before she was married she discovered she was pregnant. Finding himself engaged to a now disgraced woman, Joseph, her fiancé, quietly purposed to end their relationship.

These were woman who, for the most part, led unremarkable and sometimes scandalous lives from a human perspective. Several were promiscuous even by modern standards. Others were misfits and outsiders. All in some ways were victims of their fallen cultures. Nevertheless God incredibly used all of them to bring redemption to a fallen wold. Their lives are a reminder that there is no sin so great that God’s grace is not greater still. They point to the reality that no matter how low we have sunk, God’s love is even deeper. They announce that no matter what we have done, there is nothing that can put us beyond God’s reach.

What’s in a genealogy? This one announces the good news that there is nothing in our stories that God cannot redeem and there are no lengths that He will not go to make us His.

Jim Mckee