Have you ever seen those adverts for the ‘ancestry tests’?
They always seem to pop up on the side of my screen, claiming that I could find out my bloodline within minutes. A particular one that stood out to me was the option to test to see if there was any royalty within my bloodline that perhaps had been missed.
‘I’d know if I was royalty’, I thought to myself. ‘I don’t need to test for that.’
I’ve been thinking a lot about ancestry recently, especially family names. My granddad’s surname has Scottish origins and apparently we have our own family coat of arms. Who knew?
In Medieval times, people were often identified by the coat of arms they wore. They were passed down from the father to the firstborn son, and so on. On the crest was marked their achievements and values they held as a family.
The coat of arms was a representation of a person’s or a family’s place in society. It may not have meant they were royalty, but it meant they were worth something, and so were their values.
I don’t know what is written on my family’s coat of arms. I’d like to think it would be something epic, some kind of slogan that would change the world. Perhaps one day I’ll find out.
But it got me thinking, if I could create my own family crest from scratch, what would I want it to represent? What values do I hold so closely that I’d choose to be identified by them?
To help answer my question, I look to the Father. After all, He is the head of my family.
When I look at the way His son, Jesus, interacted with those around Him, it’s easy to notice the values close to His heart. He embodied forgiveness, unconditional love and grace.
He forgave the very people who put Him on the cross when he declared ‘Father, forgive them’
What would it look like if we forgave our flatmates for not doing the washing up?
He loved the woman who slept around and offered her Hope for her future (John 4).
What effect would it have if we showed grace to our housemate instead of judged their choices?
He offers grace when He chooses relationship over religion (Acts 15:11).
How can we model freedom in faith over rules in religion to our friends?
I don’t know what is written on my granddad’s family crest, but what I do know, is this. The coat of arms that my Father holds is one of love, forgiveness and grace. I don’t need an ancestry test to tell me I have a royal descent, because I am connected to the King, and upholding His family values is in my royal bloodline and privilege to do so.
When we are connected to the Father, it is our birthright and honour to uphold the same values He holds.