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Great Grandma Clarke was a pill. She was a stubborn, determined, meddling, belligerent old lady that quite frankly, no one liked very much. It is sad to say, but my recollection of the overarching sentiment when she died, was one of relief. My father, a pastor, but also an organist, had been asked to play for her funeral. When he came down from playing, he was as white as a ghost. Mom asked him if he was ok. And he said, I could have sworn she was staring at me…. The mystique of Grandma Clarke went on even after her death.
After she died, her belongings were shared according to her wishes. My dad was given her Bible, which was a very old KJV that was filled with notes and pieces of paper. The back pages of the Bible were the most interesting. On the back pages of her Bible Grandma Clarke had produced, evidently over a number of years, a family tree, going back for a couple hundred years. There were two people of particular interest. The first was one she tried to erase. Apparently, we are related to someone from Scottish nobility, a certain Duke of Argyll from the clan Campbell. Being related to nobility apparently appealed to her, so it was highlighted; but then curiously, erased. A little subsequent research showed that the Duke was a rum runner and a slave trader. So clearly not a good relative to recognize.
Number two, however, turned out to be quite a bit better. The now legendary missionary to Africa, David Livingstone, is an uncle of mine. Livingstone was highlighted, underlined and the reference repeated. Of all the things that can be said about Livingstone and his missionary history was that he understood that following Jesus’ promise wasn’t ever going to be easy.
This weekend we discussed the challenges of being Jesus’ disciple; the very challenge that is before each of us and…it’s not going to be easy.