2020 was a challenging year for all of us.  Covid was causing illness or loss of friends and loved ones, closing schools, making us wear masks and altering how we did worship. A mighty disruption to life as we knew it.

2021 proved to be an even more stressful year.  My family lost three generations this year.  In the spring an identical twin grandson didn’t survive a rare condition called Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome.  In the early summer my 95-year-old father was called home.  Then in August my wife of 42 years went to Heaven, having completed the earthly tasks set before her. 

While this was certainly a trying time, it also gave me time to reflect.  Each generation is home, safely in the arms of our Heavenly Father.  It was hard to say good-bye, but was also a time for celebrating, as they lived out 2 Timothy 4:7, “I fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith”.

As I look back over the years, there are many reasons to be thankful.  The most important is passing down a strong heritage of faith to the next generation.  My wife’s family settled in western Michigan from Germany, growing into a large farming family of 10 kids.  From those roots several pastors and numerous Lutheran teachers sprung forth.  The replanted roots of faith flourished in the fertile soil of America.

My ancestors also made the journey from Germany, making northern Wisconsin their home.  The rolling hills reminded them of the land they left, as they started planting seeds in the ground as farmers but also nurtured the seeds of faith by joining with other German immigrants to organize a Lutheran church in their village.  Five generations of my family have their final resting place in the cemetery of that original Lutheran church and school.  The seeds of faith grew strong and moved through the generations.

Each of you have a story to tell and a heritage to pass along to the next generation.  What will you leave for your children and grand-children?  Will it be just some of the material things that you have accumulated or will it also include a heritage of faith?  It doesn’t matter if it is several generations of deeply rooted faith or newly sprouted roots from accepting God’s gift of grace.  Proverbs 22: 6 says “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”

We have our marching orders from Matthew 28:19 to make disciples of all nations.  Continue to grow your family tree of faith.

Bill Burmeister

Church Extension Fund – Michigan District

800-242-3944    –    bill.burmeister@mi-cef.org

Our Heritage