Clevedon Presbyterian Church
Kawakawa Bay
St. Aidan's
Clevedon Kidz

Father's Day

September 1, 2019
Mark Chapman

Father’s Day 2019 Clevedon

Let us pray. May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of our hearts, be acceptable in your sight O Lord, our strength and our redeemer.  Amen

So some reflections on fatherhood

and maybe ideal fatherhood.

The Fatherhood of God.

What would that look like?

In Matthew’s gospel Jesus is quoted as saying:

Mat 5:44-45  …love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,  (45)  so that you may become the children of your Father in heaven. For he makes his sun to shine on bad and good people alike and gives rain to those who do good and to those who do evil.

You must be perfect—just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

So there is a kind of perfection in God

which is not God’s ruling like some despotic king

hurling lightning bolts at sinners,

rather God’s perfection is God’s blessing of good and bad people alike.

So there is no prejudice in God

no discrimination

no, three strikes and you’re out.

In Exo 33:19  Moses asks to see the glory of God: God’s response is: This is my glory,  I am the LORD, and I show compassion and pity on those I choose.

So this God makes agreements with mankind and they are one sided.

Not, do this and I will do that,

rather, because I love you, I will be what I am to you, whether you like me or not.

So we have this picture beginning to emerge of the Father heart of God which is the model for all fathers.  It’s a model of,

a perfection of, Grace. Grace is this unmerited gift of love freely given.

The apostle Paul writes: Eph 2:8  (8-9) For it is by God's grace that you have been saved through God’s faithfulness. Which means, it is not the result of your own efforts, but God's gift, so that no one can boast about it.

So when thinking about Fatherhood

I ponder this.

If as children we grew knowing we were safe

and as much as humanely possible,

If we were fed,

if we were nurtured,

if we were shown the difference between love and selfishness

it was because we had a parent or parents

we had a father

who did what he did

did what she did

out of Grace, this free gift of love.

And it wasn’t that we had earned it

but rather, as any parent knows,

because, without the parent’s grace,

the child would die as some children today still do.

Grace is the outcome of love.

And grace is grace because it is not a response to something we have done! Grace is grace because it is freely given.

We love you because you are our children and without love you will die!

When we as father’s fully get that

I believe the world will change.

The second thing perhaps about the fatherhood of God is in

King David’s understanding of God as his shepherd.

It is a picture of being a father to the sheep,

suggesting that God’s fatherhood and therefor true fatherhood

is not passive grace.

It is active.

In Psalm 23 King David writes:

God restores me to the right path.

David knew that if a sheep wandered off the path or into danger,

as a shepherd he would use his crook and hook the sheep out of danger

and back on the right path.

Again, an act of grace.

The sheep might be quite happy to wander off

it requires that the shepherd

brings the sheep back to himself.

The verse means literally, God repents me.

King David knew that God was continually bringing him

back to God.

Jesus speaks of the shepherd who goes out into the wilderness

to find the lost sheep and bring it home.

This kind of grace is not berating

it is not complaining

it isn’t angry grace,

in fact the shepherd, says Jesus, rejoices that his sheep has been

found and it’s the shepherd’s joy to carry it home.

The shepherd, repents the sheep.

Again, it is grace working itself out through love.

The apostle Paul writes that God has brought the whole cosmos

back to Himself and made peace with everyone.

So what does it say about true fatherhood?

1st, it is present!

True fatherhood as shown in God, is ever aware of the child

and is present for the child knowing that without the father’s loving presence, the child will never discover unconditional love.

Fatherhood is holding your child up in your arms,

teaching your child how to walk

drawing your child to you with cords of affection as one prophet writes.

Never coming to your child in anger

but always in grace,

understanding your child’s humanity.

It is allowing your heart to be broken by the things that break your child’s heart.

True fatherhood is constantly reminding your child

that you will never leave her or him

that you will always be present

you will never ever give up on him or her.

That if need be you will lay down your life

that your child might live.

True fatherhood is total commitment.

And our children must know that,

be told in as many different ways as possible

and shown by constant love.

Our children must know that as father’s we have their backs.

But because we all fall short of the glory of God and because we as fathers all come wounded into the role

we will make mistakes.

And what we must be able to do then

is to apologise to our children and confess our wounds to our children,

in order that any wounds end with us

and are not passed on to another generation.

And in the process our children

are taught

the power of apology

and admitting weakness.

Then may a new world might emerge.

And it’s all up to us as parents

and especially as it’s Father’s day

it’s up to us as Fathers.

Now unto God the Father, God the Son and God, the holy Spirit, be all the honour and glory, world without end. Amen