“An Interesting Perspective!”
Do you know where you come from? Do you know who you belong to? Do you ever wonder exactly who you are? These are interesting questions that have gained some significance lately. Most recently we have listened to and wondered about what percentage Native American one needs to be before you can ‘officially and reasonably’ claim to be part Native American. The recent advances in science have created DNA testing services such as “23andMe” and “MyHeritage” that reportedly are very good at telling us where we come from. Do your ancestors hail from England? Perhaps you’re Scottish? Maybe German? Are you of African heritage? What about being native to North America? These tests can tell you where your ancestry comes from, as well as reporting what possible percentage of that ancestry you just might be. It’s an interesting concept – being able to reach back in time and ascertain where it is and who it is that you are descended from. The results offer “an interesting perspective” on our past and future. No more guesswork. Just offer up a sample and wait for the results to be returned to you in the mail.
This possibility has been in the news lately as a claim to have Native American identity was challenged. The test was taken, but I’m not totally sure the results really answered the question of whether there was significant Native American ancestry that could be claimed. I was told that there is Native American (Lumbee tribe) ancestry in my own background, as well as possibly some Cherokee. After reading recently about what percentage you need before the tribe will claim you, I’m afraid to offer a sample for fear the stories I grew up with might not be true. So, I’ll just stick with what I was told.
However, all this talk about what percentage of this or that got me thinking about who I really am and whose I am. During the month of October we celebrated the sacrament of Holy Baptism four times. We celebrated it with adults as well as with infants. During those baptisms, these words continually struck me as the words that defined who we are: We are born children of a fallen humanity; in the waters of Baptism we are reborn children of God and inheritors of eternal life. By water and the Holy Spirit we are made members of the Church which is the body of Christ. This tells us we are a people ‘reborn’ as the children of God and inheritors of eternal life. Those powerful words define who we are and they put to rest all the worry we sometimes feel about who we are. We are the children of God, and as such, we are inheritors of eternal life.
It no longer matters to us whether we are of European, African, North American or South American origin. The claim to our identity and heritage will not come from a continent or a people, but it will come from being claimed by God our Father and through our belief in Jesus Christ as Lord. As the children of God, we join a long line of saints who know and serve Christ. And it is in this heritage and in this lineage that we can truly take our pleasure and know we belong – for we are 100% Christian and members of the Church. Through baptism, you, me, and all believers have become the children of God and brothers and sisters through Christ. We belong! This is who we are – Christian.
Throughout my youth, I was also told that “Butler” is a name of English origin. I don’t know if that’s true or not, and I haven’t really pursued it. So I don’t know what percentage Native American or English I might be, but I do know that I am 100% Christian, and after all, that’s what really counts! Remember your heritage, my brothers and sisters in Christ.
Yours in Christ,
Pastor Butler +