Summary: Seeing that today is Father’s Day, I’m going to share with you the greatest story ever told—it is a story about a Father’s Love!
Sermon for Matthew 9:35-10:8
Father’s Day 2008
The new ELCA motto or slogan is God’s Work! Our Hands! Through God, through the Spirit our Hands are to care for this glorious creation and one another. God’s Work! Our Hands!
Seeing that today is Father’s Day, I’m going to share with you the greatest story ever told—it is a story about a Father’s Love! A love story that has the power to change lives and situations. It is a love that runs through the beginning to the end of the Holy Scriptures. The Love story begins with, “So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.” Your Father has created you, blessed you, and given you all a purpose in life! Be fruitful!
Remember, YOU are in the image of God. God is actually your biological Father! You therefore are to follow in your Father’s footsteps and become co-creators to the world, to the air, the soil, the water, the animals, to each other, always caring for and bringing along. You are to be a blessing for others, like God has done with us. Be Fruitful! That’s our purpose! How are we doing?
Well we sort of know the answer to that. Dads and Mothers we all know that our children don’t always behave the way we would like. Many times it seems the children feel they know more than their Fathers, and Mothers, and that is pretty much what happens with the very first children on earth—Adam and Eve.
They had it all. So do we!
But in this true story, God has created such a good world and basically given it to his two children, created in the Father’s image, asking only two simple things—Please take good care of this wonderful creation I have so freely given. Take care of each other. And do not eat from that one single tree in the middle of the garden—The tree of Knowledge.
Yet all the goodness and responsibility much have caused some type of brain damage, that happens in most children, because for some ungodly reason that is not enough. What do we do? We desire God’s infinite knowledge. So immediately we reach up and take some of that forbidden fruit because it is a delight to ones eyes, without thinking once of the Father’s command, causing our lives more misery than we could have imagined.
Dads, Moms does this sound familiar? How many of our own children don’t realize that we as parents have the best interest of those created in our image? We desire what is best for them even though they may not know it—just as God desires what’s best for you even though you may not know it.
Yet when our children fail and disobey, usually dads, and moms are fairly forgiving. Even though we fail and disobey, God is always and extravagantly forgiving!
However, there are consequences to our actions. For Adam and Eve the command to be fruitful has just been complicated because of our lack of trusting the Father who makes certain we are taken care of in all situations. Through the stories of the Holy Scriptures one hopefully learns and experiences that the Father’s love is never ending and all encompassing, offering Hope and Forgiveness no matter what!
Throughout the history of the world, once again told through the stories of the Bible, one gets to hopefully see and begin to understand first hand the extremes the Father goes through to get his children to be fruitful—take care of creation and one another—simply put to behave like someone in the image of God.
We see there maybe a limit to the Father’s patience in the stories such as Noah, where no one—not a single person behaved like a child of God—except Noah and his family. And we also see the heart of God in His regret and the promise never to do it again. Yet this means your Father must find other ways to show his concern and mercy offering hope and forgiveness to His children. How? God’s Work! Our Hands!
Last week we learned how God intends to Work through Abram’s hands. An old man with no children, and a simple promise of hope that turned him into a Father of many nations—now get this whose purpose is to teach those around them about the Love of God offering that same forgiveness and hope, and of our task to take care of creation and all that is in it. What’s amazing is that this ludicrous promise came true! Abraham does become the Father of many Nations—Judism, Christianity, Islam! Can we start to believe that God’s promises are true?