Down through five-score generations
someone passed on belief for me:
at first, maybe a disciple
who walked beside Christ, strong and free,
inspired by the love of the Master
agog with miracles seen
fervent in faith; bold after Christ’s death
proclaiming New Life, not a dream.
I give thanks for this faith-filled lineage
as the message was handed on,
through my forbears, or friends, or through clerics;
and sometime through children, in song
with a simple delight in Christ’s stories,
and a wonderful sense of the grace
in the actions and love of a Saviour
who’s called me, that New Life, to embrace.
Thoughts behind ‘Faithful Heritage’
For several years now particularly at All Saints’-tide, I have marveled that, if I could trace it, there would be a genealogy of believers who have passed on the faith in every generation since Jesus lived with us on earth, until it reached me. In my case my parents, grandparents and, I think, at least two of my great- grandparents are part of that precious chain. For others, it will be people completely out of their own family; but the person who helped them to faith will have their faith-genealogy too. Somewhere down those long lines there will, quite possibly, be a saint who is recognized by the church, maybe a member of The Way persecuted to death for passing on the Good News; maybe someone of Roman extract or of the Norman church; maybe a person or people from a completely different Christian source.
This poem embraces these thoughts and could be linked for an assembly/ collective worship/ all-age service with the simple but very effective all-age activity which can be found at http://crossandcosmos.blogspot.com/2014/10/all-saints-day-activity-timeline-of.html
In the second verse, there is another possibility that we (my wife, Pam and I) have encountered from time to time – the glorious evangelism of children brought up in the faith. We know from older friends, who in their childhood lived in comparative isolation in a home where the only book was a Bible, that many of the games they played were Biblically based (an opportunity to dig a hole and put your brother into it, for example!). This notion of children playing such a part resonates with Matthew 11.16 (children playing) but even more so with Matthew 18.3, Matthew 19.4 and similar passages in Mark and Luke. (Unless you become like little children, you cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven).