One of my favorite shows is called: Finding Your Roots, with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. I watch it on Tuesday nights at 7:00 p.m. and I watch old programs on the PBS streaming app. Gates and his staff work diligently to gather genealogical information about a guest’s family background. They follow the paper trails left by family letters, court documents, census records, and they end the program by showing the genetic marks of their race, which reaches back 500 years.
The program begins with teaser comments from the guests, which they say during the process of unveiling the information Dr. Gates and his team have gleaned. The musician Pharrell Williams said: “I’m buzzing. My body, my arms, like woah.” Kasi Lemmons, a film maker, said: “In some ways you’re pining for something, ya know. It’s not just information.”
Today is my Granny Baker’s birthday. She is one of the most important matriarchs in our family’s genealogy. Our family stories and our families’ faith have a direct lineage to her and the way she raised the family. She was a blessing to our family and many others. She was Ma Baker to the people around Nashua and in later years she was Granny Baker to everyone who knew her. She was a woman of modest means who always added a plate to the dinner table if a hobo needed a meal. She was on her way to join the Army Medical Corps when she contracted the 1918 flu and later, she moved into the neighbor’s house to care for a family that contracted smallpox. Dad can remember standing at the end of the sidewalk and talking to her while she stood on the front porch. She knew how to live out her faith.
The Bible is filled with stories of our spiritual ancestors. We can read these stories and glean information about their lives, circumstances, understanding of the world, and most importantly their faith. Many people would like to read the bible, but they don’t know where to start. The one-year bible programs are helpful for some folks, but they are also intimidating to others. I recommend reading the Bible by focusing on the major: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Moses and the Exodus, Deuteronomy (a retelling of the Israelite’s story from the perspective of the Northern Kingdom), King David, and minor stories (but no less important stories) Noah and the ark, Shadrack, Meshack, and Abednego dancing in the fiery furnace, and the story of Ruth and Ester. These are examples of the great stories in the Old Testament. In the New Testament I recommend reading a single gospel- Luke is my personal favorite and the book of Acts is a companion document by the same author. It tells about the birth of the Christian Church approximately 70 years after Jesus’ death and resurrection.
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