When my two boys are morphing hugs into wrestling moves and wrestling moves into hugs, in a seamless dance of brotherly love and laughter, God is giving me a slight taste of heaven on earth.
If a man’s children visit him at work, they should not be surprised when people show their father respect. It should be familiar. As common as peanut butter sandwiches. For at home, they have seen their mother offer a similar respect to their father over and over, and it is simply the way things are.
A Father’s Day sermon. Cross-posted from Eastland Church of Christ.
Passage: Malachi 4:5-6
This centrality of fatherhood should not really surprise, because the relationship between the Father and the Son is the central relationship of the gospel itself. God the Father sends his only Son, and the Son obeys the Father. The Father gives the Son honor and recognition, while the Son is the perfect image of the Father, imitates the Father, and points others to His Father.
And make no mistake. When I say that the relationship between God the Father, and Jesus the Son is the cornerstone of the gospel, I don’t mean it’s the cornerstone of what we practice here in this building…though it is that. I don’t mean that it is the cornerstone of our personal ethics…though it is that. I also don’t mean that it is the cornerstone of our personal salvation…even though it certainly is that.
When I say that the relationship between God the Father and God the Son is the cornerstone of the gospel, I’m saying that it is the cornerstone of creation itself. Of the cosmos. Of the very fabric of reality. The pew you are sitting on holds together because the Father loved the Son. It all goes back to that fact.
The world was created, God spoke us into existence, so that He could send His only Son to be slain. The world was created, God spoke us into existence, so that his Son would be glorified. Reality itself is founded on the desire of the Father to enthrone His Son with all authority in heaven and on earth.
And this Father, who is source of all life, who is the source of all love, gives us, His creatures the same name that He has given Himself. The name that we are taught to call Him in His infinite glory – Father – is the name he requires us men to bear. Just dwell on that for a second.
This is a great privilege. But it also represents a heavy responsibility.
So I wrote a children’s book, based on a request made by my daughter, and I need your help to make it a reality. I wanted it to be light and fun and silly. And it is all of those things. But I believe it is also true, with a certain gravitas in some scenes, colored by Scripture. This was not my intention, but rather the tones bled into the story as I was writing and editing.
These two verses will be in the back of the book in the acknowledgments section, noted for their inspiration:
“Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners?” Song of Songs 6:10
“Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.” Psalms 126:2
The latter is pretty obvious. Ultimately, the Lord is the source of all laughter, the Prime Comedian, the One Author. Satan (that dragon of old) seeks to disrupt it. When you lose joy and laughter, you lose your thankfulness, and your faith will follow close behind them.
The verse from Song of Solomon, however, is a bit odd, and it has been translated in many ways. This is said by queens and other maidens, in praise of the woman who is being pursued. It speaks of a special kind of feminine strength, one that is finely honed and directed. It is not the brute, raw strength of masculinity, but it is a true strength. Helen of Troy inspired the launch of an armada, but the woman of the Song can stop an army.
Woman is the glory of man (1 Cor. 11:7), and as such a Biblical woman makes possible her husband’s coronation as a king. She helps lift him up so that he might go and do battle. A kingdom, a city, a household with a Biblical queen on the ramparts is a beacon of strength to her king, and a terrible visage to her enemies.
One of my favorite authors has been known to say that the point of the Bible is this: “Kill the Dragon, get the girl.” The lad in Princess Hiccup is a carpenter’s son. You are free to make the connection yourself.
So not only is this a fun little book that can be read to all ages, its also a little subversive to the culture at large. If you can donate and help make this book a reality, I would really appreciate it. If you can’t donate, you help out tremendously just by sharing the Kickstarter page.
My “Granny Jo” gave me my first taste of an Oreo Blizzard from Dairy Queen. That alone would place her in the annals of the earth’s finest. The eulogy my cousin gave sums up her life and impact nicely, so I won’t add anything else to it. The church building was standing room only, a testament to how much she was loved, and I was honored to give the opening prayer, the text of which is below.
Our Father in Heaven,
Creator of all things in Heaven and in Earth, we praise you for your mercy, for your grace.
Be with us today as we mourn the passing of a woman who spent her life in the service of others. And above all, spent her life in the service of her family. As we commemorate her memory, be with us. Comfort us.
And while we mourn, help us to remember that we do not mourn as those who have no hope. As you told us through your apostle:
“Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.”
So may our Granny Jo find rest from her labor. May her good deeds follow her, and clothe her with honor. May she drink rich wine in your kingdom forevermore. And may her legacy live on in us, her children.
We pray all in the name of Jesus.