Now Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wild. For forty wilderness days and nights he was tested by the Devil. He ate nothing during those days, and when the time was up he was hungry. (Luke 4: 1 – 2)
Some cousins from Ireland came for a visit recently and all the clan gathered for a feast. Before the first bite was taken, we stopped to pray: O God, we remember our grandparents and great-grandparents who, at such a tender age and in such dreaded circumstances, left their beloved families behind and braved a terrible voyage to an unknown land. We honour their courage and their faith and all the sacrifices they made so that we, today, might enjoy freedom and prosperity.
We pray in gratitude also for those who, through the years, tended the connections between here and back in Ireland, the ones who wrote the letters, told the stories, and sent the snap shots, so that our kinship would not be lost.
And we pray for those who re-connected over the years, who opened their homes and hearts to us when we visited, and who blessed us with the gift of their presence in our homes.
We are the richer for the affection and memories we share and the stories we hold sacred – stories of courage, of sacrifice, of perseverance, of faith, of hope, and of love. They let us know who we are,
and what we believe. Through all the days and all the ways our family has ventured, we know that you were with us, God, ever present, always guiding, leading us on.