Sunday, June 18, 2023

Father's Day Spirit

Today is Father’s Day, and perhaps should be celebrated as a form of “Parent’s Day” since Mother’s Day is also celebrated as the “Festival of the Christian Home.” In today’s readings, Sarah and Abraham were informed, in style somewhat reflected thousands of years later by the Annunciation, that, unlikely as it seemed, they were to become parents.

The Bible invites us to think of God in part as our Heavenly Parent. Jesus taught us to pray to “Our Father which art in heaven.” Paul taught that the Holy Spirit within us creates a parent/child relationship, and she “calls out, ‘Abba, Father’” as phrased in the New International Version, on our behalf. The paternal term is meant to communicate relationship, not gender since God is neither female nor male and is both feminine and masculine. Our Creator is our eternal Parent. The Scriptures use both motherly and fatherly imagery to communicate that we are the beloved children of God. Paul reminds us that our Heavenly Father “proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us,”as the New Revised Standard Version says. As illustrated by Jesus’ “Parable of the Prodigal,” our Heavenly Parent is always watching for ways to reconcile and deepen the relationship with us.  

In my father’s sermon notes for today's reading from Romans, Dad wrote:

God’s love says, “I love you unconditionally. I’ve always given myself to you. What is your response?” God’s love does not depend on our virtue or achievements. The nature of God’s love is such that it does not leave us as it finds us. And it does not use us up. It refreshes and renews.


Excerpt from the manuscript of the sermon preached by 
Rev. Bill Lawson on June 18, 2023, at Briensburg UMC.

For the Complete Sermon: [ PDF | MP3 Audio | E-Book & Other Formats ]

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