Our Heritage – Psalm 127
“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord…”Psalm 127:3
Children are the Lord’s gift. Some couples are blessed with many children. Some only one or two. Some none at all. But all of us, regardless of the biological children entrusted to our care by the Lord, are responsible for the heritage that we leave to the next generation. How we live our lives in Christ Jesus will impact those who follow us in the Lord. What legacy are we building upon, and what inheritance are we leaving for the children of the following generations?
The parent/child relationship is not the primary relationship given to us in Holy Scripture. The primary motif we find regarding our relationship with the Lord is the bride/bridegroom relationship, the marriage of the Lamb. Jesus is the bridegroom and the Church is the bride (Matt. 25; Rev. 19). But sadly, what we see modeled in the Church today is the disintegration of the family unit. The divorce statistics for the Church are no different than those of the secular world. Children are not being raised in stable home environments. When the Psalmist says, “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain,” he is speaking of the fabric of home life as well as the physical structure of the house. Is it stable? Is it built upon the firm foundation of faith and worship?
It is said that God has no grandchildren, meaning that each of us is responsible for our individual relationship with the Lord. We cannot ride the life of someone else’s faith into the Kingdom. But it is also true that God has no stepchildren. St. Cyprian said that “You cannot have God for your Father if you have not the Church for your mother.” We cannot have a stepmother. The essential component of building a godly legacy for the next generation is our personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ in the fellowship of His Body, the Church. That love relationship is the model for what we are to pass on to our children, the younger generation in the Church today. St. John tells us, in the prologue of his Gospel, that “to all who received [Jesus], who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:11-13). It is through our relationship with Jesus that we can become children of God. We need to model that relationship for the younger members of the Church.
What the Psalmist is proclaiming in Psalm 127 is that as the exiles return to Jerusalem and rebuild the city with the Temple at its heart, they must also rebuild their families on the foundation of the Lord Himself. The prophet Malachi made clear the Lord’s expectation, saying, “And what is the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth” (2:15). The returnees’ marriages, and the lives of their families, the prophet declares must be grounded in relationship with the Lord and firmly rooted in the worship of the Temple community. For us today, we also must reclaim that primary relationship with the Lord and with His Bride, the Church. We must restore the primacy of Christian marriage as a reflection of the relationship between Christ and His Church.