Sermon for Matthew 10:24-39   -   The Love of a Father
Proper 7

It is not easy being a father. One cynic, speaking from his own experience, noted that children go through four fascinating stages. First they call you DaDa. Then they call you Daddy. As they mature they call you Dad. Finally they call you collect.

Today we salute fathers. Dads, we love you. The role of a Christian father is more important in today's world than ever before. It is a different roll than in earlier generations. In most households today Dad is called upon to play more of a nurturing role in caring for children. If Mom works outside the home, Dad must take a more active role in doing household chores. Dad is no longer "lord of the castle." Hopefully, however, he has not been reduced to being another of the vassals.

Today's father needs to be nurturing of his children, supportive of his wife, and yet at the same time provide the spiritual leadership of the home that the Bible accords to fathers. It is a rare man, a special kind of man, who can combine all three of these qualities. We salute Christian fathers this day. Your family needs you more than ever before.

The most common image that Jesus used in describing God was that of "Father." It makes me think that Joseph must have been a very special kind of father. We center much of our attention on his mother, Mary, but Joseph must have also combined those very special qualities of strength and gentleness that we associate with Jesus. Jesus had a very keen knowledge of the Old Testament Scriptures. In the Jewish home it was the father who had the primary responsibility for his son's religious instruction. Of course we know that Jesus had an unique relationship with God. Still, I have to believe that Joseph, though barely mentioned in the Gospel narrative, was probably an influential role model for Jesus. Why else would Jesus have chosen the imagery of "Father" to portray God?

In Matthew 10: 29-31 we have one of the most important Scriptural reminders of the love of our Heavenly Father for His children. "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?" Jesus asks, "And not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father's will. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows." What a moving testimony to the very intimate love that God has for each of us.

1. Sparrows Do Fall from Skies
2. LifeĆ­s Problems are Not Punishment for Our Sins
3. We Never Fall Beyond the Watchful Eye of the Father.

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