(See on John Gishler Youtube Channel.4K9VWQ? June 21)
Fathers Day is a celebration and thanksgiving for Fathers – including both our earthly and heavenly fathers. In our post-Christendom time many men are confused about their identity. We are seeing the breakdown of the family as individualism, liberalism and feminism erode traditional Biblical family values. Like many people my own father was emotionally absent and critical. My life changed when I discovered that God was my Father and really heard Jesus’ answer to Philip – “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” (John 14.9) The song “He Knows My Name” by Tommy Walker always brings me to tears of healing. It reminds us we are valued, listened to and will never be abandoned by the powerful God who loves us.
The Prodigal Son story reminds us that Father God is like the ideal human father who gives us the unconditional love of freedom to leave, waits and watches patiently for us to come home then forgives, honours and restores us to relationship.
In our own time many people and some clergy have lost their fear of Satan, sin and separation from God. They have become dependent on human popularity for their sense of value.
This is what Jesus is warning about when He said “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather be afraid of the One who can destroy both body and soul in hell.” (Mt. 10. c28-29) The Good News is we do not need to depend on human popularity. We are the valued spiritual children of God who have been redeemed by Jesus so we can continue our spiritual love relationship with God in heaven forever. Our God is all-powerful and He knows my name.
2. Fathers give us a sense of achievement (Hears me)
My father never affirmed me or gave me the fathers blessing which is critical to a child. The Collect began with “O God our defender, storms rage about us and cause us to be afraid. Rescue your people from despair,” The Genesis Reading reminds us of an ancient time of despair when Hagar and her son Ishmael were sent away by Father Abraham and waiting for death in the desert. “God heard the boy crying and an angel of God called to Hagar from heaven, asked her what was the matter and opened her eyes to see a well of water. (21.17-19) This has been my own experience regularly when I cry out for help and receive an answer. He hears me when I call.
3. Fathers give us a sense of security
We also prayed for deliverance from fear. The Matthew Reading is one of the most challenging in the Bible. We are told Jesus came to bring a sword and that families would be bitterly divided and we had to love Him more than our children. (10.34-35) This sounds harsh until you lengthen the timeline to include eternity in heaven. We have been comforted knowing through our experiences of the supernatural dimension, seeing heaven and seeing our daughter after her tragic death – radiant with joy. This and stories like Hagar give us hope and security. Father God will never abandon us.
Good news is that we have a father who knows us by name, hears us when we call and will never leave us.