Summary: Welcome to Father’s Day 2003. This is a great day to reflect on being a father, having a father, or being a witness to the value of a father in the life of children whether you had a father or not.
The Turning of the Hearts of the Fathers and the Children
Scripture Reference: Malachi 4:5 – 6
Welcome to Father’s Day 2003. This is a great day to reflect on being a father, having a father, or being a witness to the value of a father in the life of children whether you had a father or not.
I had the opportunity a couple of weeks ago to see a movie with Aldon. It was one of the few movies for the first time in a long time to cast fathers in a positive light. I have to say that this animated feature distributed by Disney and produced by Pixar will be on our shelf in video and DVD.
“Finding Nemo” was the name of the picture, an animated tale of fish life in the sea. And it weaves together the story of a father (clownfish) who is left to raise his only surviving child, a son after the tragic death of his wife Coral and their unhatched eggs were eaten by a barracuda.
Marlin, the clownfish, was a father who was responsible, loving, caring, at times overprotective, but balanced and diligent over the life of his son. Monsters, Inc. didn’t a father in it. Toy Story one and two, didn’t have a father in it.
The Lion King did have a father in it, but he died off early. But this movie, “Finding Nemo” had a father in it from beginning to end; an active, smart, and attentive father.
I know what you’re thinking, “Pastor, it is only a movie about fish…you’re either spending too much time in the office or you need to schedule an appointment with Annette Hyman who is working on her counseling degree from Loyola.” And it is an animation at that.
Oh yeah, there was an emotional scene at the end; Did I say emotional? Well, I meant emotional…a scene where the father is seeing his son off to school and the young clownfish is about to begin his second adventure, the son yells out, “hey dad, wait.”
He comes swimming back towards his dad and says, “I love you.” The dad does not brush him off or yells you are embarrassing me or get away from. His words were just as refreshing, “I love you too.” But I don’t want to give away any more of the storyline, but it was an exciting movie to watch.
But I know of another place where there are no scripts, directors, producers, or agents to rely on to portray fathers in a powerful and positive way – the Holy Bible. Much to our surprise, it is still the one book that not ONLY addresses every relationship that exists in this life, but in particular it references the father more than any other.
His role, his place, his significance, his value, may be undermined in the streets, but it is honored and revered in the Scriptures. With the turn to every book in the Bible the presence of a father can be felt and understood.
Yes, there are some good fathers and some bad fathers and the Almighty Father interwoven in the text not unintentional, but deliberate and dutiful.
There is a group of women in our culture who are attempting to have the Patriarchal, fatherly references removed from the Scriptures to make it more gender neutral. But they need to understand that God does and will have the final word.
In the book of the Bible we have chosen to deliver from --- Malachi. This is next to the last of what is called the Old Testament’s prophets --- John the Baptist was the last one.
Malachi gives us practical guidelines about commitment to God. He delivers to the people of Israel words that remind them that:
1. God deserves the best they have to offer,
2. They must be willing to change their wrong way of living,
3. They should make family a lifelong priority,
4. They should be ready for God’s refining process in their lives,
5. They should commit to the tithing of their income, and that there is no room for pride.
6. They should know and understand that there is a day of judgment that will fall upon all of those who do not love and fear the Lord God.
But church, what caught my attention was the final words of this prophet. You do understand that after the book of Malachi, there is not another word from God through a prophet for approximately 400 years?
They are called the silent years in between the testaments. We end with Malachi in the Old and begin with Matthew in the New. Malachi ends with the talk of a curse and Revelation nearly ends with talking of plagues.
What lasting words does God inspire Malachi to record as a prelude to 400 silent years to come…