Today's Lectionary Text
Ephesians 1:11-12In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance, having been destined according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will, so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, might live for the praise of his glory.
My father spent his early life waiting on an inheritance that didn’t materialize, and his later life waiting on an inheritance that outlived him. It seems to me as an adult a rather sad way to live.
From my mother’s family there was no promised grand inheritance, only a dark china cabinet full of my grandmother’s china and glass. It’s no stretch to say my grandmother was my favorite person growing up, and it was no secret I was her favorite grandchild. Our bond was cemented at a hospital bedside very early on and continued to grow as I enjoyed my stays at her house in Kansas City over breaks from school and in the summer.
I have fond memories of peering into the china cabinet of the corner of her dining room as she would tell me that the china and glass would be mine one day. But not too soon. As a child with a great imagination, I assumed these treasures were handed down to her from her mother, grandmother and down the ancestral line.
Late last month these treasures came to my house and are now displayed in my kitchen and dining room. As I unpacked the carefully wrapped dishes and blue glass, I texted my mother asking about its heritage.
It came as a surprise to me that the china was bought by my grandfather around the time of her own marriage to my father, but the glass had its own tale to tell.
My grandmother had to drop out of community college when her father died. She got a job at the Board of Public Utilities where she would later meet my grandfather. Every paycheck she designated a small amount of funds to go to the department store and purchase some of this glass. Piece by piece she built this marvelous inheritance that is now mine. It’s not ancient and certainly not worth vast sums but it became dearer to me now than if it was worth a fortune. She set aside hard-earned money at a time when she likely had little to build this collection I now have on display.
She also built an inheritance for me in the Methodist church. A former church secretary and often office fill-in, I ran tame through her church. I enjoyed countless hours in Sunday school, vacation bible school, choir practice and sat in the background of many a Circle or UMW meeting. I saw church politics play out, women in leadership, and learned what it was to be the body of Christ in a church much larger than my own.
I saw in my own church how her involvement influenced my mother. A piano player as well, she also directed the church choir. Later I would see her become a Lay Speaker, leader in the congregations we were a part of growing up and have leadership roles at the district and conference level.
I have been the recipient of this rich heritage in the Methodist church. It is an inheritance fully realized, and one that I pray outlives me.
I love having my grandmother’s glass and china in my home. It is a tangible reminder not only of the hard work of a matriarch who set aside treasure of glass and china for future generations but set an example of a rich relationship with Christ and community.
Communications administrative assistant
Prayer for Reflection
Holy God, thank you for the saints that came before us. For those who taught us how to follow you, shaped us, and showed us how to lead in your church we give thanks and praise. May we look to these servant leaders and cloud of saints as examples of how to be a witness for you in the world.
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