The Son of Seth

The way Miska and I split up duties during the school year, in the mornings, I’m the chief cook, bottlewasher and part-time priest. I bag lunches, whip up eggs with toast and, most mornings, read a small bit of Scripture and speak a prayer as we step into the day.

We’re slowly reading Luke, and today we landed on Jesus’ genealogy. The way The Message lays it out, one “the son of…” per line, it goes on for pages, giving Jorim, Peleg and Arphaxad their brief moment in the limelight. I considered skipping it, but I thought better. The simple speaking of a person’s name may be the holiest thing tucked in those many pages. “Hang on, boys,” I said. “We’ve got a big ol’ list coming up.”

And I began. The son of Heli, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melki

I noticed Seth dead still, complete focus on me. He paid his oatmeal and his toast no attention, but he was hanging onto the words. The long drum continued. The son of Naggai, the son of Maah, the son of Mattathias

Seth sat absorbed. This is the boy who doesn’t know the meaning of stillness. When he isn’t running, he’s skipping. When he isn’t skipping, he’s twirling. When he isn’t twirling, he’s rocking. If he has to stay in place, then his foot taps a hundred beats a minute. If every other possibility is refused him, Seth will sit and twitch. Tigger has nothing on this boy.

Yet he did not move. The son of Cosam, the son of Elmadam, the son of Er

Finally, while continuing the litany, I tapped on his bowl. He dug up a spoon of oatmeal, but his attention stayed fixed on the names. The son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Salmon

We rounded the corner and drew near the end. The son of Kenan, the son of Enosh, the son of Seth

“There! I was waiting for it!” Seth shouted, flinging his hands in the air. “I knew I was in there!”

That boy, at eight years old, knows something about reading the Bible that seminary and years of Greek and Hebrew failed to teach me. We find ourselves amid those pages. It’s God story, but it’s our story too. If all we get from the Bible is facts and edicts, if we never find ourselves (and our loves and passions and life) amid the words, then maybe we should spend more time reading with the children. Any of the stories will do, even a genealogy.

7 Replies to “The Son of Seth”

  1. Wonderful, wonderful! Such a beautiful lesson from one so young – and isn’t that just the way it happens? YES, Seth – you are in there. And so am I – and so are we all. Glory be.

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