Saturday, September 4, 2010


The emerald green landscape of the Irish countryside and the breathtaking beauty of the "Giants Causeway" welcomed me to the land of my forefathers this past week. I visited the home of a hero of the faith in John Knox and learned of the tremendous religious conflict that has scarred this amazing region. I walked the pathways of Garvins past and took in the views of those who sacrificed much so I could enjoy the many blessings that are mine today. It was an amazing journey.

I am convinced that each one of us have an inherent affinity for the homeland of our ancestral heritage, and I was blessed with the opportunity to visit Ireland and Scotland, the land my of my family in previous generations. It is good to be home and I am navigating the issue of jet lag fairly well. Travel delays and lost luggage brought some frustration and some well needed reflection. My journey from the United States to Ireland and then Scotland was the reverse of my ancestors. My travel time to Ireland and Scotland was just under one day, their venture a significantly greater story. I wonder...

I wonder what the thoughts of William Garvin were when he voted in the General Assembly of Scotland in favor of the national covenant called the "Kings Confession" Scotland denounced the practices of the Pope and embraced the reformation of the church. I would love a window into the life of John Garvin who moved his family from Dunbarton, Scotland to Armagh, Ireland as part of King James' initiative give more Protestants land in Ireland to bring greater protestant influence to the region. It would be wonderful to know the thoughts of Rev. Samuel Garvin who brought his family to Pennsylvania in 1763 answering the call for the need of a "Covenanter" pastor. I find myself wondering aloud of the many in my family's history whose stories I may never uncover, and am so grateful for this history of my family that has been recorded. Their journey to America and the journey in their faith serves as a solid foundation on which my children can build our family heritage.

The Garvin family story is not unique. The many who have sacrificed in your family history, who sacrificed much and stood bravely in the midst of overwhelming obstacles affords you the opportunity to freely be who you are today. The question and challenge for us is what will future generations say about our journey. Will they speak of character and courage? Will they tell of sacrifice and significance? Will they discover faith and faithfulness?

My renewed commitment today is to honor my family name... not just the name Garvin, but the name of my Heavenly family:

"For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:14-20

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