"Faith of our fathers, living still." – Frederick W. Faber
For a number of years now, my wife and I have been driving to different churches where I lead in worship, and we've seen the changes of the seasons as they happen here in southern Ontario, Canada. In the winter, there's snow and ice. In the spring, there are freshly worked fields, the seeding of crops, the first leaves on the trees, and the early flowers along the sides of the country roads and in people's gardens. During the summer, we witness the growing of different crops, as well as cattle and sheep in the pastures. After that, we see the harvest of the crops and the preparation of the fields for winter.
At the end of May, we commented on all the lilac bushes (Syringa vulgaris) in full bloom. The purple flowers are so visible, even from long distances. Some of the bushes are huge. We saw them near houses, which makes sense, but there were also a great number of them in open areas, in many cases not far from the road, where there are no buildings. We wondered why they are there. Then, I remembered that a local historian, Andrew Armitage, wrote about that some time ago:
- Lilacs are everywhere in this corner of rural Ontario. Introduced during the decades that it took to reduce the forest, create farm fields and build homes, they are a heritage from a generation of immigrants who knew the lilac back home. Grown by the kitchen door of those first rough log shelters, they are a symbol of the past, a botanical monument to the hopes and aspirations of settlers who took up land in Grey or Bruce counties.
Apparently, so I read elsewhere, the early settlers, especially from Scotland, brought them along as a reminder of their homeland, a way to alleviate their homesickness in a foreign land. Now, many years later, many of the homesteads are gone, but the lilac bushes remain.
I thought about how those early settlers worked hard and built new lives for themselves and their families. Just as they brought the lilac bushes, they also brought their Christian faith and principles with them. They started churches, many of which still remain. During the last decade or so, many have celebrated their 150th anniversary.
Paul commented on the importance of faith being carried on from generation to generation:
2 Timothy 1:5 – I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also. (NKJV)
The faith of the early settlers lasted from generation to generation, just like the lilac bushes.
What can we do in these days to help ensure that the faith of our ancestors is passed on to the next generations?
Prayer: Our Father in heaven, we thank You for the beauty of nature and the faith of our forefathers. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.