I’m sitting on the beach allowing the steady breeze and the rhythmic rolling of the waves to caress my soul. I’m here with my mother, sister and niece -- three generations. Ah, life doesn’t get much better.
We had early morning coffee on our condo balcony. It was fun watching a father and his young son fishing below. The father was quite stationary, standing on the beach, casting his line into the gulf, whereas his little helper seemed to be in constant motion. He seemed to be doing a wild “sand dance.”
After a little while his mother and little sister arrived on the scene. It was obvious that it was the toddler’s first visit to the beach. Her tentative walk on this newly experienced white stuff was a joy to behold.
Do you remember? Do you remember, Pilgrim, that first time you felt through your toes sand at the beach or in a sand pile? Of course, a lot of this family trip has been about reminiscing. I was amazed how many memories the beach evoked, for we are not beach people. We are lake lovers, for it is at a lake that our family usually vacations. But sure enough, we could recount story after story.
Even though only five years old, I vividly remember having my first salt water taffy, riding a toy train on the beach, saving menus and ice cream tops which had movie star pictures, making shell jewelry, sand castles, being a part of a children’s ad-lib talent show on the porch of the hotel. I sang the only song I knew really well, “Jesus Loves Me, This I Know.” A lady came along and told me to stop, that I was being sacrilegious. I stopped, even though I didn’t know what that meant. I then ran crying to my mother who comforted me. I remember the undertow and being told that it could pull you down into an underwater world. I remember watching sand fleas and coquina shells and crabs burrow themselves in the sand.
Each one of us took turns recounting our memories. Some overlapped. Some stood alone. It made the depth of our time together even more meaningful. Of course, during this week together we are adding to our family beach memorabilia. Memories are important, Pilgrim. Our history is important. It is what helps make and mold us. It seems to be even more poignant if we are allowed to walk back in time with someone with whom we’ve shared the experience.
This year I’ve had the delight of visiting with two childhood friends. One lives right outside of Chicago and the other in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. I’ve been a transplant all of my adult life, as so many of us are, in this transient world. To spend time with those who “knew you when” was a rare treat. They knew my Mama, Daddy, sister, brother, grandmother, aunts, uncles, cousins and I knew theirs. One had been a dear friend since the first grade and the other since high school. Even though our worlds hadn’t crossed as often in recent years, on our reunion it was as if we hadn’t missed a beat. We picked up right where we had left off.
You know, Pilgrim, we are people with history; people with a history, people with “the History.” We are the children of God, Christ’s own. Oh, I wish I knew all of the stories, could quote all of the verses from our Holy History Book, the Bible. It is the Word, our Lord God’s Word that defines us, tells us who we are and to Whom we belong.
Our world seems to be going faster and faster and becoming more and more disjointed. Who says about “divide and conquer?” Ha! As long as we keep our eyes on Jesus and know our history, know Whose we are and to Whom we belong, all will be well and all is well.
I now better appreciate and don’t skip over the long genealogy lists we find in both the Old and New Testament. They are part of your and my genealogy, too, for we have been grafted on to the branch. Their story is our story.
I loved learning part of the Jewish Passover tradition where the youngest asks the question of “Why do we celebrate this meal?” It is then that the story of the Passover is retold and has been retold for thousands and thousands of years. Possibly at our Lord’s Last Supper, a Passover Meal, John the Beloved disciple, being the youngest would have asked that same age-old question too. “Why do we celebrate this meal?”
Ah, and if his history as a disciple is our history too, might we need to bring that question forward and to our mind too, with the added knowledge of our Resurrected Christ? Why do we celebrate this meal, that one that began so long ago as a Passover celebration and became our Lord’s Supper?
I’d like to end our time together, Pilgrim, by sharing just one new beach scene. My niece Lucy, age 20, ended our last night together by playing some of her CDs of Christian music and singing. Mother, grandmother and aunt watched and enjoyed. We had been sharing old stories all week. For our last night together my niece Lucy gave us a new gift -- a new song -- a new memory of a beautiful young lady. She has her whole life ahead of her. I think she will go far, for she strongly knows her history, from whence she came, to Whom she belongs, and it isn’t to her proud mother, grandmother and aunt, who sat beaming -- but rather to her Lord. Ah, she gave us the gift. -- She knows. -- She knows. For one more generation knows -- Thank you, Lord.
Ah, Pilgrim, intergenerational family beach time is good! Any intergenerational family recreation time is good if spent re-telling “the Tale,” “the Story,” “the Good News.” It then can truly become a time of re-creation.
Peace. Might you, Pilgrim, need a little intergenerational family “R&R” time too? If not possible with your immediate family, how about with your church family? I hear they have an incredible “Meal” being offered. One which will satisfy your every need. Listen to 1 Corinthians 11:23-25. It says: For I received from the Lord that which I also deliver to you that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same way, He took the cup also after supper saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this as often as you drink it in remembrance of Me.”