Last week I was reading from a book that I have had for years. As I went to return the bookmark I was using to mark my spot I slowed down long enough to notice that it was a folded scrap of paper that had typewriter ink on it. When I looked closer I realized it was a clipping from an old church bulletin. Then I saw a note in my grandfather's handwriting scribbled across the bottom. I flipped to the front of the book and saw this was once his copy of Mack Stokes' Major United Methodist Beliefs. As I held both the book and the little note in my hands, I paused to appreciate what a gift it is to be connected. What a precious thing to receive gifts from others.
The Apostle Paul knew where he stood. He was not first in line, and he was not last. He, like us, stood somewhere in between. Therefore, he was intentional to pass on what he, himself, had received from others who came before him. These legacy gifts can be found in his writings.
Christ died for our sins in line with the scriptures." 1 Corinthians 15:3
"I received a tradition from the Lord, which I also handed on to you: on the night on which he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took bread. 24 After giving thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you; do this to remember me." 1 Corinthians 11:23-24
Like Paul, I stand in a long line of those relying on grace as we journey through life and ministry. Like Paul, I cherish the traditions I have received. I wish so very much my grandfather, Rev. Carlton Carruth, were here to meet you and you him. He would love knowing the people of Epworth. I have a hunch that he would walk our hallways and study the history found here. He would tell me personal stories and remembrances of the pastors who have served here that he counted as friends. He would ask about the names of the men and women that adorn plaques and items of significance throughout our building. He loved history. He knew he was not first in line or last, but lived in the middle of amazing generations of faithful persons who are living out what it means to be faithful.
Grace and Peace, Scott