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Our Place in the Legacy Line

It is mind-boggling. Perhaps you’ve heard the notion that our bodies are completely new every seven to ten years, the result of cellular replication—new cells replacing dead ones. Actually, this is not entirely true, for, while many types of cells have a lifespan of only days, months or a few years, some remain pretty much the same throughout life. On the whole, however, the vast majority of these tiniest units of living matter live much shorter lives than we do, each one creating its own replacement before it dies. Though generations of cells come and go during our natural lifetime, our bodies are still our bodies; we remain who we are. We are constantly different, yet always the same.

We often think of the collection of Christ-followers as a “body,” for as Paul taught, “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”1 And though we are united in Christ, each of us has our own role. Paul, again: “For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”2 The more we mature in the faith, the more we realize that the Christian life is much more “we” than “me.” Yet there is another dimension to Christ’s church on earth, a generational one. We are born into Him by faith, and we pass on from this life in faith. We come and we go—each generation replicating into the next—yet the body of Christ on earth continues to be what it has always been and to do what it has always done. It is different, yet the same. So we take this courage from our forebears in these fruitful years, knowing we will soon join their ranks . . .

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.3

Then may this be our legacy, too, for the new “cells” who take our place, each in grace continuing the work of Christ. For though His body on earth is constantly changing, it remains the same, for He is its head,4 and He is the same yesterday and today and forever.5

Father, thank you for including us in the body of Christ. Inspire us through those who came before us, and through us, inspire those who follow. In Christ we live, and in Him we pray. Amen.

1 1 Corinthians 12:27-28
2 Romans 12:4-5
3 Hebrews 12:1-3
4 Colossians 1:18
5 Hebrews 13:8