Today we honor our fathers for the introduction which they and our mothers gave us to this world in which we live and the way they are equipping us to live faithfully in this world and through all eternity with God. And we think about the introduction and counsel we have given and are giving the children in our families.
I certainly do not subscribe to the current "there always a good excuse for every sin" theory which says only faithless parents and a dysfunctional home life could produce a troubled person and only a saintly father and mother could be the parents of Mother Theresa. I remember the interviewer asking Billy Graham "Dr. Graham, how do you sleep at night -- having the responsibility for so many millions of lives... being the one with the responsi¬bility of bringing them all to Christ? You must realize many of them will never accept what you preach." Dr. Graham said, "I sleep fine. I have the responsibility to proclaim The Gospel God has given me to the very best of the ability God has given me to use in God's service. The rest is up to each individual and to The Holy Spirit Who seeks to work in both of us whenever we ourselves don't hinder Him." The same is true of every parent and grandparent -- true of everyone of us as we relate to God's children. Share that most precious gift you have – relationship with Jesus – and see God do the rest.
God does hold us responsible for the Word and example we present to our children. For the individuals and the societies who fail in that regard, Jesus saves some of His harshest words -- "whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea." (MATTHEW 18:6) Poppa, what are you doing with my world?
Thinking of the lack of civility and increase of faithlessness and violence in our world, I am often filled with sorrow over the direction our world is heading. Then I see a couple of news stories like I saw this past week – the little black boy asking his mother to stop the car so he could get out and help an old white lady having great difficulty climbing stairs with her walker – the little white girl initiating a long still going after five years relationship with an old man whom she saw in the market and cried out “Hello, Old Man” because he looked so sad. We live in an age when the sanctity of the human life God has given us is seldom honored – but out of the mouth of babes.
Why did God create us in His Own Image?
We've all been there -- seen ourselves and other family members we love in that little boy or girl. Seeing the child with that smile, that quick temper, that calmness in the midst of chaos, that unusual hand movement, those eyes and mouth which mirror your husband or your wife or yourself and which estab¬lish a rapport which can only be labeled family.
Our children born in our image -- we and they created in God's Own Image. God created us in His Own Image that we might recognize something of God within ourselves and that we might experience intimate, familial relationship with God -- a relationship God wants to share with us now and eternally.
"In God's Own Image" has to do with our being able to recognize God the way God created and recognizes us. "In God's Own Image" has to do with God giving us the ability to know right from wrong and evil from good... the ability to understand past, present, and future in ways which enable us to celebrate and learn from a history and to plan and build for a distant future... the ability to manage an entire planet and harvest a universe. "In God's Own Image" gives us other abilities which God has in far greater measure than we do but chooses to share with us in measures large enough for our needs. Above all, "in God's Own Image" has to do with being able to knowingly and actively live in a covenant relationship with God -- to be God's People.
Shortly after 911, Billy Graham's daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her "How could God let something like this happen?" Anne Graham said, "I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we've been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives and being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?"
Anne Graham’s words remind me of our Gospel text this morning when Jesus’ disciples, in one of their most misguided moments, rebuked those who brought little children to Him for fear they would disturb Him in His "important work" and Jesus said, "Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the Kingdom of God." There is no more fertile human soil in which to plant the seed of faith in Christ than in a little child which is why Jesus went on to say, "Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom
of God as a little child will by no means enter it." A person can accept Jesus as his or her Lord and Saviour at any age - but they must come with the type of faith we see in a little child.
Poppa, what are you doing with my world? As we prayerfully ponder that question, we know that Biblical understanding must be the starting point, founda¬tion, and guiding agenda of how we live and what we teach by words and exam¬ple in our homes.
Poppa, what are you doing with my world?
What indeed are we fathers - and mothers and grandparents - doing with our heavenly Father's world ... the one He gave us to subdue, to work in harmony with, and to share? And how are we sharing The Plan and The Vision with those around us -- especially the children?
Today is Father's Day - a day for all of us fathers to take a bow-- providing we bow low enough to end up on our knees in prayer.
THE PEACE OF GOD WHICH PASSES ALL HUMAN UNDERSTANDING KEEP YOUR HEARTS AND YOUR MINDS IN CHRIST JESUS OUR LORD AND OUR SAVIOUR. AMEN.
The Third Sunday After Pentecost - also Father's Day June 17, 2018
Dr. Kurt Borows Pastor, Resurrection Lutheran Church, Catawba Island, Port Clinton, Ohio