Stephen’s Redemption

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It started back in 1856 when my great, great, great-grandfather was born in Palermo, on the island of Sicily. When I say, “it” I mean, “me.” At least that’s as far back as I can trace my heritage.

   

In 1919, Stephen Manqueso decided to come to America with his family. He didn’t make it, however; he died on the trip over.  His two sons (Frank and Giacomo), however, did make it, and landed in Galveston, Tx. Now, over 150 years after Stephen was born, here I am.

   

My family’s history is an interesting one. From what I’ve found, my mother’s line has: two professional baseball players, one professional golfer, an unknown number of divorces, jail time, money gained, money lost, and at least 250 Springer episodes. They have been Catholic, fruitful (with many kids), and have some of the coolest names I’ve ever heard (Giacomo, Heppie, August (my great-grandfather pictured above), and Octavius). But in all I’ve found, there is no evidence of what really matters.

   

Christ.

   

I used to joke with people that if they had met my family they would see the grace of God all over me, but now that I’m learning my history – I’m finding that the truth just isn’t as funny as it used to be. It’s strange to realize you have no ties to the people who made you. 

    

Only five generations separate Stephen Manqueso and I, and other than the year he was born and when he died, I don’t know much about him. But he and Maria have left a legacy that is seen throughout the twenty something people I now call my family, and it’s sad to see how badly I stick out. 

   

And how badly I fit in. 

   

Even though I am a believer and have been redeemed, Manqueso blood still runs through my veins. And it haunts me daily. The sins of the fathers are passed down to their sons. 

   

But God is gracious. Because ultimately I could trace my line all the way back to Adam – and his blood is still in me too. But Jesus, for some reason, decided to rescue me from my bloodstains. My Italian history is interesting, but my eternal destiny is matchless. My past is marred, but my future is secure…but oh how my past continues to pull me down.

   

So now the legacies of Stephen and Jesus are at war in me, but thank God I know who wins. Stephen’s past has been, is being, and will be redeemed. And as I look to start my family now, my prayer is that Christ’s legacy will endure where Stephen’s has failed, so that in five generations, my sons will find me and see only Christ.

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About nickpjones

I am the pastor at Thetford Baptist Church in the Upper Valley region of VT/NH (though I'm originally from Texas). I have been married to Amanda for the past nine years, and we have three lovely daughters: Susannah, Ellie, and Jane. I love food, music, and writing, all to the glory of God.
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