Deep thanks to all for the warm birthday wishes. As I enter this new decade of life, there’s no place I’d rather be than here. You have been amazing in your kindness and welcome and I am grateful. I look forward to coming to know you better as we journey together as disciples.
That said, you will find me missing from worship this weekend. I am off to the northwestern parts of Iowa for a Clercx family reunion. My ancestors on my father’s side are from the French Netherlands, with our original name being La Clerqx. A number of years ago my parents traveled to Belgium to search our ancestry. One of the most surprising things they discovered is that we are actually more Dutch than Belgian. In fact, we even have a family windmill!
The older I get, the more important ancestry becomes to me. I like having a sense of where I’m from and the lives of the people who came before me, helping create this life I now enjoy. There is a sense of gratitude and responsibility: gratitude for their courage, family commitment, work ethic, and faith; responsibility to carry on those same virtues. It’s a similar feeling I get when I visit elderly sisters or motherhouses, and feel the strength of the prayers spoken and whispered within their hearts and walls.
There are a number of sayings I reflect upon as part of my prayer each day. One of them states:
“I’m making my shoulders strong for the young to stand upon, stepping lightly on the backs of those who hold me up. It’s a chain of life unending, ever new and ever bending, grateful is the heart for the chance to be alive.”
Friends, we have a strong legacy of faith and virtue within our own families and parish. The time is ours to carry it on.