I was a young Anglican priest and serving as an assistant curate in a parish in which Father John my boss (the pastor) was also a convert from a conservative Baptist home. We were con-celebrating Mass on the evening of All Souls Day, and our parish was blessed with a good choir and music director who had chosen to perform Faure’s beautiful Requiem for this Mass.
So John and I were at the altar praying while the choir sang the offertory. At the time both John and I had been influenced by the charismatic movement so both of us were praying in tongues very quietly. While the offertory continued I had an inner picture of a chart of a family tree. It was drawn in black and white with straight lines connecting boxes with people’s names in them. I saw my name, then the chart branch out to my two parents, then my four grandparents, then my eight great grandparents, then my sixteen great great grandparents, then it sped up and branched out again and again until the ancestry was vast and the chart bigger than I could see. Then in my inner vision I saw the family tree chart had blood flowing down through the black and white boxy chart. It seemed to me that this was the blood of Jesus flowing through my family tree–generations of hard, “black and white” legalistic Protestants, and that as I was claiming the blood of Jesus for them I too was being “ransomed, healed, restored forgiven.”
After Mass in the sacristy I said to John, “that was a beautiful Mass. during the offertory I had an amazingly healing experience.”
John nodded and said, “Me too. During the offertory I saw all of my family tree being washed in the blood of the Lamb.”
Friends, what we say we believe about the power of our faith is not just a theory or a devout belief. It is living and active.