Pulling On My Genes
By Anonymous on Oct 04, 2016 09:26 pm

In our Epistle lesson this past Sunday, the Second Letter from Paul to Timothy, the writer commended Timothy for a faith “that lived first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, lives in you.” So I’ve been reflecting on my own faith-genes.

My father was of uber-German heritage, and the Bachschmids were Lutheran as far back as I can see. His grandfather’s people came from a small Bavarian town in a region that was almost entirely Roman Catholic. I’ve often wondered how they happened to be so different from the rest of the region. When Rich and I walked through that town several years ago, we just happened on a sign, “Martin-Luther-Platz.” My people! Unfortunately, the church was not open to explore and learn more. But my father, one of 11 children in a family that knew hardship, had an unshakeable, generous, bold faith with deep roots. His unconditional love for me—often sorely tested—was my lesson in how God loves us.

My Hoosier mother was raised in the Disciples of Christ church but joined a Lutheran choir where she met my dad. They both became pillars of this D.C. church. I thought all families prayed and sang and worshipped as much as ours; I didn’t appreciate this blessing until much later. Mom always seemed to have someone under her wing who needed mending. In her final days, as she was dying, one of her last sentences was “I belong to the Church of Good Housekeeping.” While I laughed at the time, I’ve come to see that her life centered on the value of tending, loving and nourishing the faith of her family and her community. She was a good housekeeper, indeed.

My brother, my only sibling, carries the determined faith of our parents. In his mid-sixties, Ed started seminary studies and is now a vocational deacon in the Diocese of Virginia, serving his parish and two senior living facilities. He waited his whole life to finally fulfill his calling. He has never been happier. And it’s not surprising that I married a man from another church-pillar family that included several clergymen. It’s humbling that I have so much to live up to.

So why do I tell you this? I believe it is important to feed our faith memories, to remind ourselves of the shoulders on which we stand. I’m hoping that you might do this, too. And it’s not just our family of origin whose beliefs, passions and even doubts feed us. For me, it’s also my church family. I draw on the witness of Mary and Sam, on Carol, Stan and Linda. And many more. I cannot imagine what I might offer others if all I had to give was me.

We are, each of us, a mini-communion of saints. We have the faith of all who went before us beating in our veins, in our heart. Listen to it, giving us strength and courage. Times are difficult, but we are not alone.

“I give thanks to my God for every remembrance of you.”Phillipians 1.