Saturday, September 21, 2013

Twigs on the family tree
Dedicated to my mother and father
inspired by their heritage.
My father was a cotton picker, a migrant fruit picker, a soldier, a YMCA director, a youth pastor, a senior pastor, a college recruiter, a real estate developer, an antique shop owner, a hydro power plant builder, a writer.

Over the last thousand years, many vocations were plied by my kinfolk, from kings and queens to farmers, from Parliament to pulpit, from Congress to soldier, from authors to weavers, from knights to indentured servants, from slave traders to slaves, from Indian to Indian fighter, from doctors to those on trial for witchcraft, some were educated at Oxford while others were illiterate, from clerk to merchant, from sheriff to thieves, from Crusader to those fleeing persecution for religious beliefs.  Some were sent to the Tower of London, some were beheaded, some having their titles and lands stripped away, others awarded castles taken from others, one murdered by an angry mob while another by offering hospitality to the one seeking his life inviting their own murderer in, another hung, another killed in a duel, some captured in the French and Indian War and taken to Canada, some made prisoners in the Civil War while some died in the Crusades, one was an embezzler while others gave great riches to support their government and were never repaid, some brothers fought as did Cain and Able, some sons fought fathers in struggles for power, many died on the battlefield, some while on Viking raids, one became a bride stolen as the prize from those raids, some became moonshiners on the run, some were Tavern keepers, one was struck by lightning, some drowned, some died of epidemics, but they all are now history. 

The overwhelming sense of reading through family history is that the thread of war and conflict is woven throughout.  Twenty years was about as long as peace could be secured through strength.  Regardless of our lineage, it is important to know on which side we should choose to be on.  It's a war out there and none of us are going to come out of this alive, except through eternal life. 

History is a tale of "continual fear and danger of death."
Thomas Hobbes

"The only things certain in life are death and taxes."
"And please don't forget, there is life before death."

Here's an excerpt from a kinfolk's letter, one brother writing to another, both had served in the Revolutionary War, Robert Vance to Samuel, 1792...

"Oh, Sam, let you and I be very busy and up and doing while it is day.  For the Lord cometh wherein no man can work.  There is no work done in the grave where we are fast a hastening.  Let us try to make our Call and Election sure by getting an interest in Jesus Christ and a hiding place to cover us from the wrath of God that will surely overtake a Christless world.  I hope you will set a pious and Exemplary Life before your children for example is more powerful than precept and heads of families have a great charge, the charge of precious souls, the value of one of which is worth more than ten thousands worlds.  May God grant his grace to each of us and able us to discharge every duty incumbent on us and prepare us here in the Kingdom of Grace for the enjoyment of Himself in the Kingdom of his glory."
"Thy kingdom come.  Thy will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven...
"For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen."
Matthew 6:10, 13


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