A lot of people are interested in their family tree these days. People research their genealogies to see who their ancestors were and where they came from. Then there are those who want to get a DNA test to see what part of the world they came from. There is a big difference between these two inquiries. Genealogy helps you identify individuals in your family tree. This guy married that gal and had these kids, one of whom was my great grandfather. While interesting, we rarely get much information about who these people and what their lives were like. That great-great-great Uncle Sheamus came from Scotland does not make us special or unique. DNA testing is an entirely different thing. It identifies no ancestor in particular, unless that relative has also had a DNA test that is on record. But if we think that our DNA results make us special and different, we need to know that the “most recent common ancestor” of all human beings, the one person we are all related to, might have lived as recently as 300 BC. The “earliest common ancestor”, the first human, likely lived only 120,000 years ago. So, from a DNA standpoint, we are all related, not that distantly, and so our DNA does not make us all that special or unique. What does? It’s the stories of our ancestors. The stories we remember and honor by repeating them and learning from them and maybe even being inspired by them. Maybe inspired enough to pass them along to the next generation.
This Sunday is All Saints’ Sunday. We at John McMillan Presbyterian Church will celebrate that Great Cloud of Witnesses whose stories and faith have been handed down to us as our heritage. These are the people who have lived faithful lives and inspired us to do the same. Want to hear more? Come and hear Pastor Jeff preach “Cloud of Witnesses” based on Hebrews 11 and 12 at 8:30 and 11. Bring a candle to light in honor of your faith ancestors.