Through the years I have been exposed to numerous people who are interested in their genealogies. They spend hours looking for names and connections to people whose time has long since forgotten. Most of them hope to make some discovery from their past that will impact their present view of themselves and their family.
I sat in a doctor’s waiting room listening to a lady talk about her family heritage. She was not speaking to me, but she was loud enough for everyone in the lobby to hear her. She told about hunting for cemeteries with her family and all kinds of exciting discoveries. Then she dropped her big piece of information. She claimed, now more loudly than before, that Pocahontas eighth grandson married her something grandmother. She was very specific naming all the number of generations connected with quite a bit of pride. I smiled as my wife finished her appointment and we left with her still talking.
For her, the names and stories she discovered were part of her identity. It shaped her view of herself, her family and she shared it to help others see her unique background.
While she spoke, I could not help but think about how we read the Bible. Do we read the names there as distant people with no impact on our world? We are separated by the river of time and our two cultures it can seem there is no real bridge between us.
I believe the Bible is given to us as our genealogy of faith. I walk in the way of Seth and am not part of the lineage of Cain. Abraham is my ancestor. His faith runs through my blood. David was a part of my family. His success is my joy, and his failure is my shame. The Apostle Paul laid the foundation of my faith and built a heritage that I read about with pain and pleasure. My family includes people like Peter, Luke, Barnabas, Silas, and Timothy.
If the Church is the family of God, then the Bible is the purest form of my family tree. It tells me of people who held the faith, preached the gospel, endured hardship, and loved others in the name of Jesus. My understanding of their work in the past shapes my view of the present and even my identity.
I am not sure of who my great grandparents married and if I am somehow connected to a famous hero of the past. I do know that I am a child of God and if you are a person of faith then we are related to Christ. Together our ancestors walked as believers, and we must hold tight to faith to make them proud.