Today has been a study in contrasts. Janet and I ran a few errands and then ended up having lunch with our daughter, Kristin, and her oldest son, Connor. The conversation drifted into a discussion of when we first moved to Carmel, back in 1982 when our son, Andrew, was only 1 year old. It seems that Kristin had never heard some of the stories about how we chose the neighborhood we lived in and some of the history of the early years of our Indiana residency.
Connor was listening as well and it seemed so strange to once again share this history with the next generation. Janet and I have lived through all this and so it is second nature to us but that’s not the case with the younger members of our family. They don’t know a time without computers and smartphones – or video games – and they aren’t very adept at the art of conversation.
The more I thought about all this, I recalled how different our lives are now from what they were years ago. Tomorrow, June 2, is the 39th anniversary of the death of my father – back in 1978. When I look back on those times, I can’t even imagine how Dad would react to the things that we take for granted today. Cable television, central air conditioning, e-readers and email, to say nothing of LED lights and all sorts of technological advancements. In fact, about the only thing I still do the way Dad taught me is how I balance my bank statement each month.
Whenever our family gets together to have a meal, the grandchildren always ask me to tell a story from the old days. It has become something of a ritual and it is one of the ways that we pass history down to them. Too many times, we just live in the present without any sense of family history and this is one of the ways that we lose our identity – what separates us from every other family.
The genealogy of the family was very important to the Jews in the Old Testament. That’s one of the ways that families taught the younger generations. The gospel of Matthew actually includes a genealogy as does the book of Luke. And that historical perspective was very important to the family.
Communicating the lives of past generations helps give a sense of pride and longevity to the newer generations. Jesus was big on the traditions of the past, while combining elements of the new covenant as well. Moses, trying to teach the people of God as they were crossing the desert into the Promised Land, even started the book of Genesis with a recounting of the story of Man and the lineage of the Jewish nation.
Our verse for this evening comes from the book of Luke, where Luke tells us, in starting the genealogy of Jesus Christ, in Luke 3:23, “Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph…” It is from this construct that the history of the family was revealed. My encouragement this evening is that the lineage of each of our families is important to God. It gives us a sense of importance and connection to the past. My prayer is that you will continue to teach the younger folks about the generations that went before us. Even as I try to do that today, each year, certain things about my father tend to fade a little deeper into the past. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…