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    by Susan McGrath

"In with the Old"
Date Posted: February 28, 2004

I am a preservationist at heart. I cry at the thought of a historic structure being torn down. I cringe to see old photographs for sale at an antique store or auction. (Who could throw out a seventy-year-old picture of Aunt Mildred, even if they never met her?)

My home is an odd collection of old family photographs, family heirlooms and what I like to think of as antique furniture, but some dealers might call firewood. I also want to know my family's history and traditions and record it for my children.

I love the way my grandmother told about her two younger brothers and a cousin building an airplane from scrap wood, putting the youngest of them inside and "flying" him out of the barn loft. It must have made an impact, though, because he became an engineer! My relatives have told me countless stories of their lives and the lives of those before them whom I never knew, and I treasure them.

When I drive around my small hometown, I see several old houses for sale and a few which are falling down, and I wish I had the money to restore them. Why am I so attached to the past? I can't really answer, except to say that I like knowing where I came from and why things are the way they are now. I like to imagine the people who built that house a couple of blocks from mine and understand why no one took care of it over the years or cares that it might be demolished.

When I understand the history behind something, I can apply it to my life and make it relevant to the way I live. That's why I love reading and understanding scripture, especially the Old Testament, which is so rich and colorful in history and tradition. Sometimes there is more explanation than we can comprehend, such as the details of the laws in Leviticus. Other times we get the bare facts and have to imagine the details, like the creation and flood in Genesis.

But what is so wonderful about the scripture, Old or New Testament, is that no matter who reads it or tries to apply it -- it remains true The history of the scripture doesn't change. Sometimes is is interpreted differently by different people, but if we really study and research what was written in the originals texts, there are no contradictions! None.

And these words have been preserved for thousands of years and come through more generations than we can count, yet they are still whole and accurate. Sadly, we don't have many antiques that can survive thousands of years intact and certainly very little history which has remained unchanged for that long.

I love the song by Michael W. Smith, "Ancient Words", which describes the value and purity of the scripture and how it has been handed down. Just as I believe it is my duty to pass on family history and tradition to my children, it is a much higher calling to have the commission to pass on the "words of life and words of hope" that God has preserved for us.

I pray that I will be a pure preservationist in sharing the Word.
"For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve." 1 Corinthians 15:3-5

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Biography Information:
Susan McGrath is:

a recovering journalist trying to encourage others and glorify God through writing;

living the small-town life with husband Tim and sons Lincoln, 12, and Sawyer, 6;

completing a few put-off writing projects while using chocolate for therapy.
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