June 18, 2016

Our Father in Heaven (Father's Day / Proper 12)

The Prayer Jesus taught gives us the essentials of Christian Faith. It begins with the incredibly profound and comforting words that God is our father. I remember bursting into tears the first time I sang the song “I have a father”. “Father” is the first Theological definition of God in the Trinity. Father reminds us that God is ultimately our creator through His creation, including our human mothers and fathers. Fathers create, sustain and protect us as children of God. The Readings for today remind us that:
  • God is our father,
  • Relationship with God depends on our loyalty and
  • Believers have a life of love, joy and peace - and authority in the metaphysical dimension.
1. Isaiah reminds us that rebellion has its consequences

Sociologists call, this rebellion against parents “individuation” but there is a big difference between being different from your parents and being dis-loyal to your parents.
·         Isaiah 40-66 probably written by 6 Century disciples
·         During and after the return from exile in Babylon
·         Good news of God’s forgiveness
·         Warning that disloyalty and worshiping other gods has real consequences in the physical and metaphysical dimensions

2, The Apostle Paul re-defined believers as children of God
This is an important reminder for people in our time. In our time the old ideas of determining religious truth through historical experience and reasoned debate; has been replaced by modern insistence on avoiding conflict through the vague non-Christian values of “inclusion” and “respectfulness”.
  • Our ability to “proclaim by word and example the good news of God in Christ” – a Baptismal promise, is now legally limited by human rights legislation against ‘hate speech’
  • Many people in our time are very confused about religion.
  • Some have never really heard the good news of Jesus Christ
  • Others have heard but not really gotten it
  • Cultural lie is that there is no “true truth” about God
  • Good News is that Healing Ministry is often able to help people recover their faith and identity as “Children of God” through a personal experience of divine healing

3. Father God gives believers spiritual life and authority
Like the people in Jesus time we live in a world of lies, half-truths and deception. The lie in our time is that the metaphysical world of spiritual conflict described in the Bible is mythical. The half-truth is that ‘God is love’ – with love so loosely defined as to ‘trump’ holiness and the consequences of sin and judgement. This leads to the cultural deception that we do not really need Jesus for forgiveness.
·         Truth is that God is holy – and the love of God does not ‘trump’ the holiness of God
·         Sin does have consequences and we all need Jesus for forgiveness and right-relationship with God
·         Truth is that post-Jesus historical experience up to and including the present time scientifically proves the reality of the metaphysical world of Satan, demons and oppression
·         Hard to believe in supernatural miracles, healing and exorcism until you see it or experience it yourself.
·         Modern reactions are the same as in the time of Jesus – I have experienced anger, mocking and ridicule from clergy (even a bishop); as well as dramatic spiritual attacks

GOOD NEWS IS WE HAVE A FATHER – know who / whose we are

  • My Grandfather was a pastor who prayed for me
  • My earthly Father was a scientist who taught me to care about the world and argue as a way to discover truth
  • My Father-in Law was a missionary who taught me the power of prayer and the spiritual dimension
  • My Father in Heaven loves me and has blessed me with a life of wisdom, joy and meaning

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