Saturday Sermon: Give thanks for your Heavenly and Earthly father
By Charles Placker
So Cain went out from the Lord's presence and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden. - Genesis 4:16-17
Billy was one of several dads I'm especially proud of. I remember the struggles he and his brother had as a child. He came from a dysfunctional family but through observation, hard work and pure love for his wife and children, he has become a good husband to his wife and a great father and role model for his children.
When he got serious with his future wife, he spent a lot of time with her family and, in the process, learned what makes a good family function. When you see his son's admiration and love for him, there's no doubt he's been successful.
Most of our development as human beings stems from our relationship to our parents. Some can overcome bad relationships by great effort and looking to other role models. This is something for those working with youth and children to think about. In youth baseball, I've heard several children tell me their coaches cheat. You may be the very person they choose for a role model.
We, as a Christian community, need to learn from a God who loves us. Sometimes, no matter what we're confronted with, we need to realize the proclamation of Jesus that God loves us and is always with us as a nurturing parent and constant companion. It is a relationship that gives us the strength to say, in whatever way you say it, "Dad, thank you for all you've done." Some may need to add, "And Dad, what you haven't done, well, I understand better now. It's been tough, and I've grown up now, and I love you, no matter what." Don't ever kid yourselves. Dads do need to hear this.
Adulthood and maturity means accepting responsibility for our lives and how we live, love and work in our world.
We must be able to allow our children to stand on their own feet. They may break our hearts with some of their choices, but we still are called by God to nurture them, guide them, pray for them and continue to love them unconditionally. Our homes should be a refuge and a place of safety for them. All children need a safe harbor.
And to Billy and other parents, I would add, though your children may stray into "Nod," they never can be so "East of Eden" that they get out of God's reach and His love. Remember, the God to whom we pray understands having children who disobey His commands. That's why he has given us Jesus to stand in our place of punishment for our sins against Him.
And, oh yes, on this Father's Day, take your children or your dad to church and give thanks for the years God has given you together. Happy Father's Day, and God bless you. Amen.
When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. - 1 Cor. 13:11
Charles Placker is a licensed minister who writes for the Victoria Advocate.