Reconnecting and remembering
While serving the family of God as a pastor, I have been invited and welcomed into many family reunions. I did not understand the true significance of this annual pilgrimage until this past weekend, when I traveled to the Outer Banks for my family’s first reunion. I spent three days immersed in family craziness. It was wonderful. We shared stories of our present lives and remembered our past lives. Some there were learning for the first time our family’s story. I heard again and again the joy of reconnecting and remembering.
I could not help but reflect about the greater family I am a part of. We too experience joy as we remember the story of God’s love for us, yet, like my family, we are a scattered people. I remember God brought Abram outside and promised that Abrams’ descendants would be as numerous as the stars in the heaven. We continue to grow into that promise, yet we, like my family, are disconnected. I believe it is important that we reconnect and remember so that the world may be saved.
One of the joys I experienced this weekend was teaching another two generations one of my family’s traditions — baking Swedish coffee bread. Gathered in the kitchen were my mother’s children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I had learned this art from my mother, who learned it from her mother, who learned it from her mother.
The stories of this bread and the recipes and the family rivalries over baking it well were shared as we browned cardamon seed pods, pulverized the seeds, melted butter, added milk and flour and yeast and sugar and eggs. We kneaded it and let it rise. We punched it down, divided it, braided the dough and let it rise again.
As it went into the oven and the room filled with the sweet fragrant aroma of cardamon, I remembered that just two weeks ago, I presided over a different bread and prayed the prayer of great thanksgiving, remembering the story of God’s great love for us. It was World Communion Sunday and worshiping communities all over the world were remembering too. At the table of the Lord we were reconnected through the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Sadness overcame me as the first of my family left for their home far away. Slowly, we began to drift back to the work to which we were all called. As each family group parted, there was a call to return again so that the connection made this weekend would grow stronger, so that we would remember and become the men and women God created us to be through our unique family tree.
I thought about God’s sadness when we leave His house and fail to reconnect and remember. Brothers and sisters reconnecting is intentional and takes commitment to the relationship. My prayer is that we all become intentional to reconnect and remember, so that the world will be changed through God’s love expressed through us.