“You have a pure and enduring inheritance that cannot perish – an inheritance that is presently kept safe in heaven for you.” – 1 Peter 1:4 Common English Bible (CEB)
You never move away from or outgrow your roots. I walked into a meeting for the Hermitage in Roanoke last year and was greeted with “You’re not Martha Stokes. You’re Martha Ensley.” The person making the comment worked with my mother many years ago. That same week I was telling clergy gathered at WindsorMeade for a program that when I was little, my cousins in New York used to put me on the ottoman in the living room as soon as we got to their house to visit and say, “Now talk,” just to hear my accent. One of my VUMH co-workers quickly added, “She doesn’t realize it but we do the same thing in the office.” Soon after these experiences, I was in Nashville trying to explain to a United Methodist Bishop from The Philippines how you make true southern pound cake, including the fact that you have to be very still and quiet in the house while the cake is in the oven – otherwise, you’re the one in big trouble if the cake falls. The real fun in that experience came after my description of a pound of sugar and a pound of butter going into the recipe when the Bishop took his first bite of a very sweet brown sugar pound cake and said, “I understand what you mean.”
I pray I never forget my roots – my southwestern Virginia history, language and family stories. Yet, I have an even greater inheritance: that of being a beloved child of God. No matter where I find myself as I age, that inheritance will never fade away.
Prayer: Dear God, help me to live each day knowing that I am your beloved child: chosen, forgiven, and filled with hope and purpose. Amen.