Faith Keeping

Many people have a will, and those who have not written a will have a legal framework provided by the state the live in that will dispose of their assets and liabilities among their heirs.

But far fewer people leave a Testament to their Faith to their children. At one time a will and testament were frequently one document: frequently a Last Will and Testament. Alas today these are frequently separate documents: A testament telling one’s heirs the theological basis for one’s financial decisions and a will telling one’s heirs who gets what.

Charles Dickens in 1849
Charles Dickens in 1849 (photo by Antoine Francois Jean Claudet)

One of the treasured books in my collection is a little book by Charles Dickens entitled
The Life of Our Lord. The story of the publication of this book tells us much about the faith of Charles Dickens. He had written this book, a synopsis of the Jesus life, and had read it every year at Christmas to his children and later also to his grandchildren. Perhaps because of the skewering of his faith by those reacting to his novels, Dickens forbade publishing this little book, forbade copying the handwritten manuscript, forbade even removing it from his house during his lifetime. Yet his family continued to read that one manuscript every Christmas. Only following the death of his last child did one of his grandchildren publish that manuscript to share a glimpse of Charles Dickens’ deep abiding faith with the world.

Today we have many ways of recording our faith story to share with our children and grandchildren: written essays, audio recordings, video showing places and events. Someone with artistic skills might paint a picture or form a sculpture. I hope that my musings in these posts and in posts on my personal blog will leave a lasting record of my faith. When I have the privilege of delivering a funeral message, I attempt to gather stories of the person’s life then sort them and relate them as evidence of that person’s faith. The Apostle Paul shared his faith story through his final letter to his young friend Timothy.

Take a moment today to provide a record of your faith for your heirs.

I will have more to say about the apostle Paul’s letter to his young student Timothy (2 Timothy 4:6-18) on Sunday, October 23rd, 2016 at Temple Terrace Presbyterian Church.
Robert Shaw, Pastor