In the gospel of Matthew, the author starts the stories of Jesus with Jesus’ lineage, often fondly known as the “begats.” The King James Version references lineage like this, “Abraham begat Issac…”
Advent season often brings us to consider family, our own “begats,” where we come from, our ancestors. Some people can trace their family trees back many generations. Others, like me, can only trace to recent one or two generations – I’m a second generation immigrant on my father’s side. Records on his family’s side are hard to locate since the two world wars. I wonder who was so brave to cross an ocean to escape violence and strife, starting all over with nothing in a strange country.
We also may consider our ancestors in faith. We know from scripture and the lives of saints, and local saints in our communities, the many ways they have been generous, brave, and in all cases very human. I am inspired to hear how real our ancestors are, their foibles and their failings, as much as their more lauded deeds.
We are always works in progress, on a journey, seeking God’s guidance for our next steps. Sometimes it feels that we are guided to a lovely place, other times we end up in places that feel like a wilderness. In every case, God is with us, and urges us to further faithfulness and closeness. Wherever we are, God blesses us, and asks us to be blessings to our communities. There is no place where we can be that God is not present.
Photo by Linda Vasconi, Youngstown, Ohio, used with permission.
The Rev. Meghan F. Froehlich serves as the Director of the Office for Transition Ministry. This office provides support to bishops, Diocesan Transition Ministers, clergy, and lay leaders throughout the Church. Along with the Board for Transition Ministry, and other organizations, this office analyzes trends in clergy calls and congregational data, and provides support to those in search and call processes.