Comment from Ken
When I begin these walks with you, I never know quite where we are going, or what I am going to write about. God surprises me as I seek to write for I truly believe that sometimes He is the one that writes, not me. I know that is true when I am speaking from the pulpit – so many times it seems that it has not been me speaking because the words that come out are not Ken’s. Have you ever felt that way, too? If not, perhaps you need to write down your thoughts and see if God guides where your thoughts lead you. You might be very surprised!
Scripture Matthew 12: 46 – 50
46While He was still talking to the multitudes, behold, His mother and brothers stood outside, seeking to speak with Him. 47Then one said to Him, “Look, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, seeking to speak with You.”
48But He answered and said to the one who told Him, “Who is my mother and who are my brothers?” 49And He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! 50For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.”
It sure is windy today, isn’t it? I figured you might be late for our walk where you had to face into the wind walking toward our small chapel. No, we are not going to climb the hill to start our walk from there today – just look at the trees swaying back and forth as the wind sweeps across their branches. The pine trees are taking the brunt of the wind, and there are several pine branches scattered beneath those tall trees on the hill.
Across the street from our home, there is a small hill covered with large pine trees. It reminds me so much of a spot in the woods my friends and I used to visit when we were boys. That pine grove was, to me at least, God’s cathedral. One tree was missing up at the top of that pine-covered hill, and I could peer upward and see the blue sky and bright sun, God’s dwelling place.
This morning I had to travel into Concord for a doctor’s appointment, and I had thoughts of riding to Goffstown, New Hampshire. It is about a half an hour away, but I ended up not driving there. Goffstown holds a special place in my life for my friend Farmer Fred is buried in a cemetery there. When he passed away, I went to the cemetery, and as there were no clergy present, I repeated a committal service. Perhaps I though I might visit the place where he is buried.
The other reason Goffstown is important to me is that my father had a patient who rebuilt John Goff’s mill in that very town. He wrote a book about the building of his home and the restoring of the mill. In one of these walks, I will talk to you about that book. It is one of my favorite books in my library.
As I thought about Fred Mudgett on my way back from Concord, I decided that I would check on the Internet and see if anything came up about him and his life. Sure enough, to my amazement there was a genealogical article about him. At first, I wondered if I had the right Fred Mudgett, but sure enough, it spoke of his second marriage to Arlene French and that was my aunt’s sister-in-law. I found out the date of their marriage, and there was a mention of their dairy farm in Dover. It was at that farm I spent many hours after my dad purchased my grandfather’s then vacant farm.
One of Dale’s Christmas gifts to me was a membership in ancestory.com. Since ending my active church ministry, I have been using some of my time to again research my family’s history. Part of that history I had researched many years ago when I gave my parents a family Bible. It is so interesting if you spend some time finding out about your family history; you learn so many things about your past that you never knew. But this morning as I was thinking about Farmer Fred and my family history, it came to me that while my family history is certainly about my ancestors, my family history is also about those people in my life who have influenced me to be the person I am. In other words, Farmer Fred is in so many ways a part of my history and me and is a part of my genealogy as a family member!
Have you ever thought about the people who have most influenced your life beyond your biological or adopted family? Do we not have a genealogy of those who have made us who we are? This pastor decided this morning that not only is he going to spend time on the history of the Boyle and Hill families, he is also going to spend some time on a genealogy of those who have influenced his life in a special way.
It is the season of Lent, and we need to spend more time before Easter arrives looking closely at our lives and promising to be better, more faithful Christians. Who has it been in our lives that have given us the values of love of God, love of others and love and appreciation of our world of nature?
The scripture this day is one that I dearly love. It contains one of my favorite sayings of Jesus answering the question, “Who is my family?” Yes, we have had a biological family, all of us have, but who is your true brother or sister or mother or father? Jesus expresses to us the belief that our family is to include all those who are living by the principles of a loving God; a God who tells us to love Him and our neighbors and ourselves. Yes, we have a family genealogy, but our Christian genealogy includes all who have influenced our lives to be a better more loving and caring people.
The first ancestor in our Christian genealogy – Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Almighty God, how grateful we are for our Lord Jesus Christ. At this time of Lent, we seek to look at our lives and to see Your hand in whom we are this very day. Help us to appreciate all the gifts You have given to us and to be thankful for those who have helped us lead kinder, more loving and understanding lives. And Lord, may we be a positive influence for goodness to those who touch our lives; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Thank you for walking with me this day. I’ll look forward to our next walk with you and until then –
“May the Lord watch between me and thee while we are absent one from the other.”