Life Notes—June 14, 2012
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother’—this is the first commandment with a promise: ‘so that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.’ And, fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:1-4
I was fortunate to have two good parents. Both were faithful, hard-working adults, and both cherished their role as parents of their four children. Unfortunately, many people have or had one or both parents with such severe issues that they experienced all manner of nightmarish abuses as children. My heart breaks for those kids. As I have mentioned before, my father died suddenly when I was 14. My youngest brother, Todd, was not quite five. One time, as adults, we were reminiscing and he was sad that he only had two ‘Dad’ memories. One was of Dad walking us to the nearest football field to (try to) kick field goals. Dad loved doing things like that with us kids, and I think that was a great memory to retain—one that recalled a loving and involved father. (Dads, take note of the types of experiences our children remember…)
I probably started romanticizing my dad, embellishing the memories and the person, shortly after his death. Ditto for my mother. It is not that my parents were perfect people. They were flawed human beings, just like the rest of us, but I believe they did the best they could with the physical and emotional resources they had available at the time. With them gone it is easier to remember their good character and intentions, and forget and forgive their human frailties. And that is the point of today’s Life Note—that sometimes we need to see beyond our limited physical experience to the soulful reality. My parents loved me very much. Most fathers, depending on the ages of their children, evolve from super-heroes to dorks to ATMs to, at some point, wise counselors. But I believe God’s intent in families is for children to know the love of an earthly father, even if that love is often expressed in quirky, imperfect ways.
For those who did not have that earthly experience, for those whose fathers have or had physical, mental or emotional challenges that rendered them unable to love their children freely and appropriately, we turn to our true Father—God the Father. The Original. The Real Deal. The One whose love for us is, has been and always will be perfect, complete and sufficient. This Sunday is Father’s Day. May memories of your earthly father be fond, and your relationship with your heavenly Father, honorable and reverent.
Tom’s downtown sermon will be “What Seeds Have You Sown,” based on Mark 4:26-34. Life worship is at 10:00 AM in Brady Hall, traditional worship is at 8:30 and 11:00. Robilea Swindell is preaching at the west campus where worship is at 9:00 and 11:00. Her sermon title is “Disaster Response and Preparedness,” based on Luke 10:29-37.
Come home to church this Sunday. …so that it may be well with you…
Greg Hildenbrand, Life Music Coordinator