Midweek Blog: Honoring Ancestors

This past Sunday, the Christian Education Commission put together an Intergenerational Activity to help explore our Advent theme a bit more. Each of the four basement classrooms was themed after one of the four women named in Jesus’ genealogy to match our worship series.  Participants had the opportunity to consider what they are longing for like Tamar, what helps them make hard choices like Rahab, how they can honor their chosen families like Ruth, and what they can do to use their power for good like Bathsheba. 

Some of the rooms were a bit more active and crafty while others were more meditative and quiet, but all of them offered opportunities for wondering about the stories of these women. 

My favorite room was the one where we read about Ruth’s story and considered how we can honor our ancestors. Just like the women in Jesus’ lineage, the stories of our ancestors can sometimes be complicated or hard to figure out what to name as worthy of honor. But we’ve also been taking a broad view of ancestors as anyone who came before us who helped make us who we are. 

For the activity in the Ruth room, participants were invited to choose an ancestor to honor (using that broad definition), drawing that ancestor or a symbol to represent them, and hanging their creation in a picture frame alongside others. They were also invited to name a quality this person represented. Together we created a sort of spiritual family tree. 

It was inspiring to see everyone’s ancestors and the qualities they represent hanging next to one another, strung together not just by the literal threads but by the symbolic threads that connect them through us and into our community. Detailed drawings of pies and sewing machines hung next to stick figures and scribbles, and more than one guinea pig made the wall. People named qualities like kindness, generosity, hospitality, and resourcefulness, all qualities I see represented within our community. 

I moved our spiritual family tree gallery from the basement classroom to the wall in the foyer above the children’s coat hooks, so I encourage you to check it out sometime this Advent. And if you didn’t get a chance to honor your own ancestors, I will leave a few blank frames on the welcome table near the Children’s Bulletins.