Today we reflect on the other genealogy in the gospels, the one in Matthew chapter 1. I have to admit I wasn’t particularly gripped until I got to the end of Maggi’s reflection and read this: “To make sense of the new covenant, you have to start with the old covenant.” (Beginnings and Endings, page 30) I suppose that’s why we focus on the patriarchs at the start of Advent. They set the scene.
But it also got me thinking about the importance of connecting with what has gone before. I work every day in a church which has been here for nearly a thousand years. It gives me a sense of history, of being surrounded by the great cloud of witnesses who have worshiped here. And of course that isn’t essential to my faith, but it adds a richness, another layer. And there are some bits of our shared history which it is important to connect with – the covenant with Abraham is certainly one of them, as Maggi points out.
It seems to me that a sense of where we’ve come from is vital to our understanding of where we’re going. If we look ahead without looking back, we lose our way. Today I walked a group of children down to the venue for their nativity play, and I was constantly looking ahead at who we should be catching up with, and behind at who was straggling. And it seems to me that our journey of faith is a bit like that. We look to each other, those ahead and those behind, as we journey together. But ultimately we keep our eyes fixed on our destination, which is in Christ.