Friday, March 19, 2010

Sponge Bob Sabra Pants

Today is my granddaughter’s birthday.

Her name is Sabra. Sabra Rain. She is turning four.

I nearly always write something about a historical event connected to the date or some comment on the daily reading in the One Year Bible. However, nothing much of lasting significance has happened on this date and today’s readings are difficult.

The passage from Numbers is more instructions to priests who have been dead now a long, long time and whose order of worship has been radically altered. I try to stay interested, but hey – I’m just a person. The New Testament reading is the third chapter of Luke, and is the genealogy of Joseph.

I think I will write about my granddaughter. Of course, that means I will have to write about each granddaughter as their birthdays come around. But that’s OK. It’s one advantage of having six readers!

Sabra is the daughter of Tiffany. Tiffany is the daughter of Daniel the Wise and Lady Patricia, his wife. Daniel the Wise is the son of Daniel the Elder and his wife, Joretta. Daniel the Elder is the son of John the Hunter and his wife Naomi the Just. John was the son of James the Shoeless and his wife Minerva. James the shoeless was the son of Richard of the Mountain and his wife Rebecca when they sojourned in the mountains, yeah for many generations.

Well, I could go on with this. I won’t because I can’t afford to lose any readers.

Sabra is a family name. The first Sabra is a family legend about a Native American woman who evidently begat with one of our ancestors and had sons and daughters. However, the family either lied to the census takers or something because she is edited out of any official document. The older members of the family all believe she existed and that they knew Indian members of the family who came down from the mountains to visit. There are even pictures – I saw them once, at my grandmother’s house. However, when I commented on them, I never saw them again.

So who was this Sabra? I have no idea, yet.

Something is askew however; because evidently strands of sickle cell anemia run through my family, and that is not generally a Caucasian, European disease!

We are left with official genealogies and unofficial genealogies.

Our Sabra is four years old. She doesn’t care. She wants me to change the television channel so she can watch Sponge Bob Square Pants.

Why do we need genealogies anyway?

Why do St. Matthew and St. Luke take our valuable time going on and on about obscure people who begat, sojourn, purchase a field and are then ‘gathered with their fathers?’

I think it is because covenant is about transmitting invisible things from one generation to the next. If one generation fails to pass something down. It gets lost. If one generation gets the information wrong, then what gets passed down is erroneous.

That’s why we can’t find the elder Sabra. She got lost. I don’t know why. Maybe she wasn’t the legal wife and therefore her children had to be registered as belonging to someone else. Maybe she wanted her children to pass as White and escape the stigma of belonging to a minority group in the America of the eighteen hundreds.

On the other hand, she is not completely lost. We have been talking about her for a long time in our family. There are no photographs or documents. There is only a crude gravestone with a large “S” on it.

And, there is now a four year old girl watching Sponge Bob Square Pants who has her name.

Her sister’s name is Moira Naomi.

That’s another story for another time because there was another Naomi before her. Two of them, in fact; one great-great aunt and one great-great grandmother.

The first Naomi was a force of nature who begat fourteen sons and daughters and who sojourned upon the earth for ninety years. Her ways were righteous before the Lord. Her children rose up and called her blessed.

Naomi probably knew the real story about the first Sabra. If so, for whatever reason, she took the story to her grave.

Sabra Rain is four and she already carries the history of her people. She has a name that gives witness to the sojourn of a people through generations, across mountains, through centuries, into a time when no one is forced to hide their name from their children because they belong to the wrong race.

Sabra Rain is a child of covenant.

As we tell old stories, she watches Sponge Bob Square Pants.

There will be plenty of time for serious stuff later.

For now, it time for birthday cake with a delightful gift from God.

The gift of our second Sabra, known and loved, and who will never have to hide.

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