They are our spiritual ancestors in a faith in God that goes back to Father Abraham. All of those children of Abraham promised to him by the Lord after God answered his prayer of lament, telling God of his childless state. God answered, and reassured Abraham that his children, and their children, shall be as many as the stars of heaven. “And he believed the Lord; and the Lord reckoned it to him to be righteousness.” And so began this heritage of a belief in God.
Many years later, as Jesus collected and taught his Apostles and Disciples, Jesus reassured them,” Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is our father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom.” He advised them to be charitable and not overly concerned with accumulating Earthly treasure, but to create treasures which would be of value in Heaven. Be ready, be charitable; you must be ready for the unexpected hour.
Paul, in his letter to the Hebrews, told them in his answer to their concern for all those adherents to the faith of Abraham; that innumerable group, as many as the grains of sand, Who had died before the salvation message of Jesus had come to be known; and he told them:
“All of these died in faith without having received the promises, but from a distance they saw and greeted them. They confessed that they were strangers and foreigners on Earth, for people who speak in this way make it clear they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of the land they had left behind, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; indeed, he has prepared a city for them.”
All this reiterates what the Psalmist offers: “Happy is the nation whose God is the Lord,” he sings, “happy the people he has chosen to be his own! The Lord looks down from heaven, and beholds all the people of the world. From where he sits enthroned he turns his gaze on all who dwell on earth.”
In that, in God’s infinite graciousness, that includes all of us in this day and age, it should encourage us to Pray: Grant to us, Lord, the spirit to think and do always those things that are right, that we may be enabled to live according to your will. Let it be so.
The Rev. George O. Martin is an Ordained Deacon at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 17th and Adams, Great Bend. Send email to email@example.com.