Skip to main content

Heavenly-Father's Day Present


My son Graham called the other day, just to chat.

Since moving to Richmond for college and falling in love with that city, he has pretty much lived there year round, so we don’t get as many chances to catch up in person as either he or I would like.

But he is good about sensing when Mom or Dad needs a call, and when he does phone, we always have great conversations. Yesterday’s call ended up being an early Father’s Day present:  just hearing from him -- the excitement in his voice, the joie de vivre he has in abundance.

 As those of you with grown children can testify, it’s a unique joy to “parent” a child who is all grown up and confident and almost independent and doesn’t really need too much parenting.

On reflection, it’s not that I’m not “fathering” any more. It’s just that my fathering has, I suppose, made the full progression from “hand-holding-protection” to “disciplinarian/tamer-of-the-savage” to “hopeful role modeling” to “life-coach cheering from the sidelines” to something like “wisdom-strong-friend.”

As I write those words, I wonder how our Heavenly Father feels about the joy of parenting us.

It is God’s joy to parent us through stages. Throughout Scripture, we’re encouraged to mature in our faith -- to move from being spiritual children into “the full stature of Christ.”

And so I wonder aloud with you today:

Where are you in your relationship with God?

Are you still merely looking to God for hand-holding protection? Still thinking of God as a disciplinarian or one who needs to tame you?

Or are you giving God the joy of progressing in your relationship, so that you see Jesus more of a hopeful role model (one who has hope in you), someone who is “the pioneer and perfecter” not just of “the” faith but of YOUR faith?

[In this sense, “imitating Jesus” doesn’t mean imitating in the sense of replicating the life he lived (as if that were possible!) but rather imitating in the sense of living your life as fully and trusting and obedient as he lived his.]

And then, can you allow God to cheer you from the sidelines, living more fully into the trust God has given you to make your decisions and live your life?

(Knowing that God trusts you as a spiritual adult sure puts those “long periods of God’s silence” -- those times when God seems to be absent -- into perspective: it’s not that he doesn’t care, it’s that he trusts you enough to give you space.)

And then…can your prayer move from child-like “always asking for something” to friendship, long talks…just resting in easy company and conversation -- yes, telling God what’s on your mind, but spending just as much or more time finding out what’s on God’s mind?

It’d make a nice Heavenly-Father’s Day present, I think.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Children's Creed: What More Needs to be Said?

One of the joys of my ministry is leading children's chapel for our Day School every other Wednesday (Rev. Cathy and I take turns).

About 11:30 each Wednesday, the children - about a 190 of them, ranging in age from 18 months to five years of age - file in with their teachers, take their places in the pews in the Historic Church, and wait for Mrs. Thomas, the Day School Director, to start us.

The service is simple: Mrs. Thomas welcomes everyone, brings us to order with a short prayer, and introduces Rev. Cathy or me.

We give a short message based on the theme of the week ("David the Shepherd," "Mary and Joseph Go to Bethlehem," "Jesus is Born," "Jesus as a Little Boy" and so on.)

After the homily, we stand and say what's called "The Children's Creed."

I believe in God above,
I believe in Jesus' love.
I believe His Spirit too,
comes to tell me what to do.
I believe that I can be
kind and good,
dear Lord, like Thee.

That's 35 wor…

Man Movement Machine Monument

Earlier this week, I was attending a meeting in Washington D.C. at the Church of the Savior, of a small group of Episcopal clergy who are working on ways to recover ancient spiritual disciplines, or practices for every day, modern use.
I'll be saying more about that work in other messages, but what I want to share today is something I heard from one of the people we met with, an observation he got from the writer Richard Rohr.
Rohr points out the "Four M's" that happen over time to churches (and other organizations, for that matter), a pattern or cycle that goes something like this (the "m's" are Rohr's; the examples are mine) --
1) a Man or woman starts something...a leader or a pioneer sees or starts a different way of doing things. You can think Martin Luther (Lutheranism) or Steve Jobs (Apple) or of course Jesus (Christianity), but you can also think smaller: someone in your extended family, or a work colleague of yours.
If the man or wo…

Have I told you lately that I love you?

My late father in law, Frank, had a habit of singing, out loud to himself, as he did little projects around the house. The man was a retired Marine Corp Colonel and when I first met him I was intimidated by his sometimes gruff exterior, but boy he had a heart the size of Montana, and boy he loved to sing songs.
Or should I say one part of one verse of songs: He'd settle on one line of a song, and sing it over and over, all day long.
The song, or verse, itself would change from year to year: Mary and I would go down to Key West and visit them once or twice a year and you never knew what he'd have settled on.
One year, I remember, it was Frank's version of (Rod Stewart's version of) Van Morrison's, "Have I told you lately."
And what a great song that is - and deeply spiritual. Apparently Morrison wrote it as a love song, describing how he felt about God:  
Have I told you lately that I love you?
Have I told you there's no one else above you?   
Fill my he…