Before I retired from serving as a full-time United Methodist pastor, I made a list of major projects I wanted to pursue in retirement. One of these major projects was the geneology of my wife (Joan) and myself. My brother and some of Joan’s relatives had already develop family trees, and sent us copies. I found one amazing (to me) revelation about Joan’s family tree. It showed one of her ancestors, Richard Warren, as one of the original Mayflower Pilgrims. Internet and printed sources I checked confirmed that my wife, my son, and my daughter were descendants of this man who came to what is now the United States of America on the Mayflower.
But there was more. I discovered that this man, Richard Warren, was also the ancestor of two presidents of the USA – Ulysses S. Grant and Franklin D. Roosevelt. This meant that my wife, daughter, and son (and now my year old grand-daughter) were distant cousins of these American presidents.
Being the husband and father of people connected with such greatness led me to consider the possibilities. I could contact the descendants of Franklin D. Roosevelt and let them know that their long lost cousins had been found. No doubt they would be eager to meet us. Certainly they would invite us to dinner at their mansion (I assume that the Roosevelts still live in some sort of mansion). They might even leave us an inheritance in their will. Then reality set in. I shouldn’t count on the Roosevelt family inviting the Gough family to dinner or leaving an inheritance.
Reality also is that there is an inheritance we can count on. One which God promised. Here’s one biblical explanation of this inheritance. God, through Christ, “has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:13-14 NRSV
This development doesn’t depend on human ancestry or relationships. It depends on our faith in the work of God in Christ, which has already been accomplished through the birth, life, death, resurrection, and continuing presence of Jesus, through the Holy Spirit. Also, unlike an earthly inheritance, which is limited to the remainder of your lifetime in this world, this inheritance is eternal. That means it never ends. It’s forever. And this inheritance is offered by God to everyone. It is for each one of us to decide whether or not we really want this eternal inheritance, starting here and now, in this world. Something to consider as we go through the season of Lent.
All of this is good news in the midst of bad news. Since it is God’s will that we experience this eternal inheritance that he offers us, we can have hope that it will be fulfilled, in God’s time and God’s way.
Grace and peace, Ray
Thanks for your attention. We look forward to hearing your comments about our web-site. We also invite you to send us stories of your experiences and observations of present hopes and hope fulfilled, so we can spread them around the world via this web-site. This is one way we can all join together to help keep hope alive.
Patty Perez and Ray Gough
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