Rev. Chris Christy
June 21, 2020
Third Sunday of Pentecost, Proper 7, Year A
Who Is My Father?
This weekend we celebrate Father’s Day. some here are lucky enough to have their earthly fathers still with them. Others are left with memories of their Father and their passing. Some have never met their father and even the though of who they may be will bring about deep anxiety. There is also our Eternal or Spiritual Father who is always with us. For those of us who believe in God as our Father we take this time to thank him. What makes a Father so special? What is their responsibility to us as their children?
Mothers have the responsibility of giving birth to us and have the maternal instinct to take care of us sort of like a mother bird cares for her young. In the olden days Fathers were called, “The Provider,” one who brings home the bacon, and the one responsible for putting a roof over our head. That is what I remember my father telling me about his parental job. Our earthly parents are responsible for our upbringing and guidance in life. In today’s world a lot has changed. Even who might be bringing home the bacon or who is to build the roof over our head? In many families, roles and responsibilities have changed. But what has not changed is our Heavenly Father. He laid down the foundation of our earthly presence and through others continues to do so.
God our Father, our Savior, send Jesus to earth in man’s image to teach and guide us in this human life. That was his responsibility. He also died for our sins leaving us with lessons on how to be a Christian and follow in his footsteps. Prior to Jesus’s coming we learned about how Jeremiah, an Old Testament Prophet, was tormented during his ministry for preaching God’s word. In our Psalm today we heard of a cry for God’s help in a time of great distress. But we also read how the Psalmist never lost hope that God will always be there to help and console. This is what a Father’s responsibility is about. A father guides, directs, supports, loves, and counsels his children to help the along the path of life.
Jesus prepared, through guidance, his 12 closest followers. He knew he needed to prepare these prophets for a mission apart from him. Just as our earthly fathers taught us to ride a bike, drive a car, change the tires and oil, or use tools to fix something. Jesus prepared these 12 prophets to cast out demons, heal people from sickness, and teach about God’s ways. They were also to demonstrate what God’s Kingdom looks like, interrupting life-as-they-knew-it with new possibilities for healing, wholeness, truth-telling, and repaired relationships. Through the years these teachings have continued within a variety of religious groups such as churches, bible study groups, and gatherings. Bishops, Priests, Ministers, and Deacons, through their ordinations, are to continue teaching what our Heavenly Father – our Lord Jesus Christ – taught while here on earth. Many of us want to know our Spiritual Father Jesus Christ like we know our earthly Father.
A few weeks ago, I had an opportunity to discuss this very topic with Gil Hedger prior to his passing. Gil had Joanie call and ask if I would come and meet with him. I was told he had some questions for me. Not given any preview to these questions my mind ran wild with a million topics that could come up and I worried about being prepared for the unknown. As I sat down with Gil he told me that he felt he did not know Jesus. He wanted to know how he could get closer to him. Trust me if you knew Gil Hedger this would be the last question one could expect. Gil asked this question much like a child would ask who his or her father might be since they had never met him. Gil knew he would soon be going to his eternal home and felt he had not learned enough about his Spiritual Father. Gil and I had a wonderful discussion about our knowing Jesus. We discussed how we both have come to know him and follow his teachings. We reminisced the opportunities he had throughout his life and how he modeled to others the teachings of our Father. This meeting left me feeling a little closer to God our Father, but it also allowed me the ability to examine where I need to become closer to God throughout my everyday life. I never told Gil about the gift and lesson he left me, but I do know he is at peace in knowing God.
This Father’s Day I pray that we all take the time to learn more about our earthly Father and our Heavenly Father. Read a chapter about Jesus in the Bible or attend a Bible study with Jesus being the topic. For our earthly Father, take the time to learn something new about who they are or were. Go through pictures, read an old letter, talk with a friend or family member who knew them but take the time. In closing I want to pass on an experience I had that made me reminisce not only about my earthly Father but also about my Spiritual Father.
Tuesday night my husband and I were watching America’s Got Talent when a young girl named Ashley Marina came on stage to sing her heart out in hopes of moving forward in the competition. Her mother and father were there with her backstage. This young girl began to sing but was quickly stopped by Simon who told her he could not hear her voice over her background music. He told her to pick another song, one she could sing acapella so he could get a feel for her voice. Ashley took a minute to compose herself and began to sing another song but was once again stopped before she finished. She was informed by the 3 judges that the songs she had chosen were too Karaoke type songs but felt she had a good voice she just had not chosen the right songs. The judges decided they would allow her to retry later after preparing a better song that showed her ability as a singer. I end with this video of Ashley’s last tryout song. May the fathers listening to this sermon be blessed on your special day and throughout the coming year. Keep up the good work you are doing in laying the foundation of this earthly life to those around you.