Dear Beloved Church,
I sometimes think the Holy Spirit often works with what seems like coincidences: The theme A Church for All Generations our 175th anniversary celebration was chosen, and the Advent materials that I purchased from Sanctified Art turned out to be titled: From Generation to Generation.
During Advent this year we will read the story leading up to Jesus’s birth. Through the ways that each person has passed faith in God forward to those who come after.
I recently learned about a concept introduced by the Haudenosaunee people; the native confederacy that the French referred to as the Iroquois— It is called the Seventh Generation Principle. This principle asks that every decision we make, we take into account the well-being of the earth and the community seven generations from now. Each action that we take, everything that we pass on affects not just our children, our community and on down the line.
Everything that we are, that we have, that we know, have been passed down through the people who have come before us, through the stories they told and the way God has worked in their lives. Holding this perspective leads to gratitude. We remember that everything that is ours came from God and has been entrusted to us by the Trinity and passed on by our ancestors. It also calls us to be very deliberate about what we pass on to future generations. It is a remainder to care for our planet and the resources that God has entrusted to us so that the creatures of this earth can flourish for years to come.
It is also asks us to pause and think about what is truly important about our faith and our traditions. Are they healthy? Do they lead to abundant life for all people, not just ourselves and those closest to us? Do our ways of relating to the world, the beliefs we transmit acknowledge the way each of us is created in the image of God.
Most importantly we should ask: are the choices we are making as individuals and a church transmitting the love of God that is so big that it came down to earth to live as one of us? There have been many practices, traditions and habits that have served us well, and have been meaningful to us. However, on the other hand, are the ways of doing church that worked in the past, still working today? Might the old ways be the things that are getting in the way of new folks in our community hearing about the incarnation? The center of what we preach, teach, and wish to pass on is God’s all encompassing love; come to us, dwell with us, in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. How can we pass that on?