how do I pass this on?
Last night I sat around the table with my cousin, his wife, and the spouse of another cousin. A room full of about 50 extended family members, swapping stories, enjoying a drink or two, and consuming a good amount of wood-fired pizza. It was the wake of my uncle Kelvin - he was a man of strong community influence and simple, yet deeply genuine, Christian faith.
The cafe on the Esplanade of Encounter Bay echoed with tales of legendary country cricket performances, non-stop laughter at family gatherings, and the inspiring partnership and commitment with his wife of nearly 50 years who died only 6 months earlier. Conversations punctuated only by Helen's generous toasts - glasses raised high: "to Kelv!" - a burst of laughter, then the stories across the room reignited. Tales growing taller as the night grew longer.
We don't see each other often anymore, but when we get together my mind and heart is filled with good memories, laughter, and a yearning for more times like this. If it only were in different circumstances.
You're never far away from reminiscing around this kind of table, and wondering about your own responsibilities as parents and grandparents - and the mantel of passing on the family legacy to the next generations.
So, the question matched the sentiment of the occasion: "What's the secret? How do you pass on a life of faith to your kids and grandkids?"
We paused in our conversation.
Then before long we were swapping stories of parental joy and pain, various church experiences, and grief around the hostile posture our culture has toward Christianity.
On the one hand we were immersed in a moment of gratefulness for the rich heritage we have experienced, but at the same time we live in a season of being cornered into questioning the relevance of that same heritage for our children's children.
Popular culture screams at me that my faith in the self-proclaimed Messiah of 2000 years ago is irrelevant, yet in a time of grief and loss I find belonging, fulness and a deep sense of hope through this faith in the One who claimed victory over death - it could not be more relevant.
Gary beautifully summed up our conversation before we were swept up in another toast - "At the end of the day, I reckon its about loving your kids and setting the best example you can."
I reckon he's right.