By Scott Black Johnston
Families shape our faith. To some, this might be a scary thought. Do I really want wacky relatives, a hodgepodge of different beliefs and lasting conflicts with close kin to influence my relationship with God? Hmm...
Then again, maybe your family is perfect. Normal. Whatever the case, the good, the bad and the quirky in our families mold us.
Scripture reflects this truth. And it holds out hope for everyone whose family is less than perfect.
Where in the Good Book can we find this much-needed grace? In the ancestral stories of Genesis.
At the heart of Genesis is the world’s oldest family saga. It begins with Abraham and Sarah, and proceeds with biographies of their children and grandchildren.
This fall we are going to read and reflect on these people’s stories. We are going to dig deep into this rich soil, because the lives of the matriarchs and patriarchs—their triumphs and stumbles—have blessings to bestow. This is true because they are our ancestors. It is also true because they are a lot like us!
These women and men seek God. They want to know what God requires of them. And in trying to put their faith into practice, they make mistakes. They squander opportunities. They hurt each other. Faced with trouble they—like us—turn to God looking for guidance, justice and forgiveness.
From Homecoming to Commitment Sunday, we are going to consider these powerful and poignant stories. A highlight of the series will surely come on Nov. 11, when our guest preacher will be renowned author and theologian Barbara Brown Taylor. Barbara last preached from our pulpit in 2012. I am excited to hear what fresh insight she will bring to the story of Jacob’s all-night wrestling match with God.
This fall, my friends, come spend time with your ancestors in the faith. I promise that they will cast our most pressing challenges (both personal and societal) in a holy and hopeful light.
See you in worship.
See the worship calendar for details on the Fall Sermon Series.