2 Timothy 1:1-14 (NRSV)
Chapter 1Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, for the sake of the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus, Verse 2To Timothy, my beloved child: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. Verse 3I am grateful to God-whom I worship with a clear conscience, as my ancestors did-when I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. Verse 4Recalling your tears, I long to see you so that I may be filled with joy. Verse 5I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that lived first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, lives in you.
Verse 6For this reason I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands; Verse 7for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline. Verse 8Do not be ashamed, then, of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel, relying on the power of God, Verse 9who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works but according to his own purpose and grace. This grace was given to us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, Verse 10but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. Verse 11For this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher, Verse 12and for this reason I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know the one in whom I have put my trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard until that day what I have entrusted to him. Verse 13Hold to the standard of sound teaching that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Verse 14Guard the good treasure entrusted to you, with the help of the Holy Spirit living in us.
One of the most popular places in our church building on the day of a funeral is the display rack containing pictures of each confirmation class in the life of the church. Family members who are visiting the church flip through the pages and point excitedly when they see themselves or a loved one who affirmed their faith in the past.
A recent funeral involved a woman whose relatives were founding members. As she pointed to a picture of her grandmother at the turn of the 20th century, the importance of passing on our faith took on a whole new meaning for me.
It's no longer a foregone conclusion that our faith will be followed or even accepted by the newest generations. What do we want to ensure gets passed along? As we claim our identity as children of God, what will they think of when they hear we are Christians?
God of generations, guide us to share your good news in ways that are received. Lead us to be teachers of the faith. Amen.