We recently learned that Caleb’s great-grandfather's nickname was “Cato” because he taught himself Latin and recited old Christian poetry to his small congregation in Vernon, Texas. We discovered this as part of our pre-marital counseling with Pastor Tommy, where we worked on a project called "family pedigree," mapping out our families' faith, marital, and health histories for generations back. It was amazing to see the ways in which — through both prosperity and brokenness — the Lord has stayed faithful to our families. We are inspired to bear this torch to generations to come.
This theme of familial wholeness struck us as we read John 8:33-47, which describes a controversy between Jesus and the Pharisees, or the Jewish interpreters of the law, over who the proper heirs to Israel's covenant with God were. In this passage, the Pharisees suggest that Jesus cannot be an heir to Abraham, that he is an “illegitimate son” of the Samaritans, or worse. Jesus asserts a principle of family that transcends flesh and blood, saying that all who have sinned are slaves to sin and have no inherent claim to the inheritance of the children of God. It is only through the true Son of God, Jesus the Messiah, that we can become heirs to this great tradition.
We got married six months ago, and as many married couples can attest, adopting another’s family as your own is not always the easiest or cleanest process. In marriage, we take on all of the burdens and baggage of each other’s families’ histories and call them our own, not because of their inherit merit or worth, but because they are our own. We can trust that in marriage, God can redeem it all. In the church, this extends even more broadly. We are baptized and called co-heirs in Christ together, members of the same body and made brothers and sisters.
In this Lenten season we reflect on the redemptive power of Christ in both our church and family histories. We repent of the sins of our forefathers in past generations, just as we turn from our own sins. We celebrate our ancestors’ virtues and the legacy of faith in them that the Lord has given us through his redeeming grace, just as we thank God for the blessings he has given us in this life. And we await the second coming of our Savior to reunite us all together as one family again in heaven, one day soon.
Caleb and Gabby Orr currently live in Navy Yard with their 20-lb cat Peppers. They are soon-to-be residents of Cheverly, MD, where Caleb, an aspiring woodworker, has pitched his wife on building a boat, a shed, a putting green, a treehouse, and tennis courts in their new backyard...