Family trees…… more to the point tracing family trees. Who has traced their family tree?. There are even books and leaflets you can get on how to do it properly. The TV schedules have really gone to town on this; many celebrities have traced their families. The newsreader Moira Stuart, and David Tenant otherwise known as Dr who, Deidre Barlow from Coronation street to name but three… and we also have Long Lost Families, where individuals attempt to find long lost relatives.
My cousin traced my grandma’s family back about 4 generations, and found out we came from Gloucester.We put such importance on our names. It gives us our identity, our heritage, our individuality, or uniqueness.Another example is …..family doctors . How is it that some families have a series of doctors, vicars, or plumbers in past generations?
Having an identity, a base, a family is vitally important.
But in our society there are people who are struggling with identity; with where they come from and …who is their family
- Homelessness where many thousands of people whom roam the pavements and seek to find shelter from the harsh realities of our world .
- Leprosy where who have been alienated from society, rejected by family members because of a skin disease and the effects of that disease of their bodies
- Refugees and asylum seekers where those speaking out against injustice, conflict and people who have been displaced particularly those is war-torn countries who have lost their family roots.
Families and particular ‘identity’ is important to us, for they tell us and those around us who we are.
Many people use a wonderful image to describe our ‘church family’… a dysfunctional family !… We have many relationships to consider, some positive and affirming, others can be very challenging and destructive.
Like the sand in the picture above, each particle of sand is unique and beautiful , yet different and distinctive. It can be risky living next to a particle of sand that has very sharp edges !!
We may speak the words of a Christian, but do we really open up and live a risky Christian life, where our words and actions are spoken in love… knowing that in doing so, our reputation will be judged and opinions formed for we are adhering the sacredness of God.
Living our lives in love… is risky; it means that we can never said we have got it right.
It means that love is source of strength and our life…or as a wise woman said to me a long time ago, love is the currency of eternity.
Love is the essential ingredient of our behaviour, but as I mentioned earlier it has a cost. The cost is that we must be vulnerable, exposed , not allowing the abrasive elements of our characteristics come to the fore but to allow God to speak for us
Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord.’ Now I have put my words in your mouth. See, today I appoint you over nations and over kingdoms, to pluck up and to pull down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.’
We may feel that we are not mature enough to speak for God, by the very nature of plucking, building and planting it means challenge and change, but God recognizes our fear and promises us to be with us as we step out in faith to obey.
Family trees…..whatever your surname, …..however you trace back your family, …remember that we are all in the family of God, and being part of that family means that we live our lives in tension with the secular and the sacred world.
Next time you speak, next time you utter any words, ask yourself are they the sacred words of love from God.
Lord like the grain of sand that is washed repeatedly on the shore .
Wash me in the waters of Love ,
That I may seek to do your will
That I may strive to walk the extra mile
That I may speak words of love as the ‘currency’ of a Christian.