During the lectionary of the worship service this past Sunday I was inspired to write the following:

Ancestors, and more immediately our parents are our root and source and our debt to them should be acknowledged. We should honor them,¬† because beyond being our biological root, and the primary influence of our socialization and development, in them we honor God who designed the whole process of human generation. We honor God’s wisdom and beauty in the creation and perpetuation of humanity. To honor parents is to sacramentally honor God.

Now, from a religious perspective I get that this is no crashing insight. The inspiration I received was more of an intuition about the whole phenomena of ancestry and honor, and the words I wrote was the product of me trying to make sense of this intuition. The thing that prompts me to share this with you, however, was that later in the service, instead of a sermon from our priest, we had a visiting missionary give us a report about his work among the Soninke people in west Africa. At the end of his testimony, he wrapped up with a bit of divine irony by telling us about the frustration he experienced when he sensed that he should go home for a brief season to take care of his parents just when things were beginning to develop regarding the response of the Soninke to the Gospel. Upon returning to west Africa, however, he discovered that his leaving was just what was needed, as the Soninke that he had been ministering to gained a profound respect for the man who, against the western norm of putting his parents in an “old folks” home, decided to go home and take care of them himself. In doing this, they began to see him as more than just a westerner who taught them about the prophet Jesus, and who did some good deeds, but as one who was truly human, and worthy of being heard.

So, was this a coincidence? Synchronicity? There was nothing¬†thematic in the lectionary or in the service prior to this missionary’s testimony that dealt with parenthood or ancestry. I will say, however, that before the service I had a conversation with a couple of parishioners about Leanne Payne, the doctrine of recapitulation, and healing, which could have put the general idea of parental influence into my consciousness, but still the aptness between what I wrote, and what the missionary shared seemed like something more than a loose conceptual connection. It’s just too fitting.

3 Responses to “Coincidence?”

  1. Anthony Velez  

    FYI: The doctrine of recapitulation is a kind of explication of Paul’s reference to Christ as the second Adam. The essential idea is that Adam is the head of humanity, and in his turning away from God we all somehow turned away. Likewise, Christ is the head of a new humanity, a humanity that is turned toward God, and a humanity in which we are incorporated by faith. Stated in short form, history went wrong in Adam, and in Christ the new Adam, history is rewritten and goes right. Practically speaking, this means that Jesus meets us at the various points in our life where we have gone wrong in our development and becoming, and he enables us to turn to God and find healing so that we can develop and become the kind of creatures God intended for us to be from the dawn of creation.

  2. Roger Green  

    The sermon for us (not from the lectionary), provi9ded the notion that “family” is a broader term than we traditionally treat it. I’d say that, e.g., Paul and his band were family, e.g.

  3. K.L.B.  

    A few years back, a friend had shared with me “I don’t believe in coincidence, I believe in God-incidence.” I immediately liked it, and believed it, though at the time it was difficult for me to perceive it in my own life. From that time, I have matured spiritually & have both seen and understand it in my life.

    It seems to me the missionary’s story is an excellent case in point.