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Honoring Father

June 16, 2013

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Proper 6 (Fourth Sunday after Pentecost)             Trinity Lutheran Church

16 June 2013                                                                 Murdock, NE

+ Jesu Juva +

Exodus 20:12 Honor Your Father

Here we go again.  Just like Mother’s Day.  But this time it’s the honoring of father.

“Honor your father.”  This is God’s command.  His will.

Why honor Dad?  Here is why:  it is because your Dad has been given a vocation called “fatherhood”.  Dad has been put and stands in the divine office of father.  And that began when he was put into another vocation or office called  “husband” – when he married your mother.  Like Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.  Male and female.  Husband and wife.  Then they become parents.  That’s the order.  From the beginning.  This  is God’s “very good” of creaturely existence in this world.

There’s more.  As father, your Dad is the Lord’s instrument.  The Lord’s hands.  The Lord’s mouth.  The Lord used your Dad’s body (together with your mother’s in holy marriage) to give you life.  The Lord uses your Dad to give you Levi jeans, Nike shocks, cheeseburgers, fries and slushies.

Do you have a bedroom?  An Iphone?  A car?  An Ipad?  An Ipod?  Will you go on a vacation this summer?  Do you need a ride to practice and ball games?  Whatever you have the Lord gave you through your Dad.  Dad works.  He earns a salary.  To provide for you.  To take care of you.

Your Dad is the Lord’s mask.  The Lord hides behind Dad to give you your daily bread.  Daily life.

So too spiritual life!  Dad carried you to the baptismal font so that you would be reborn of water and of the Spirit.  To be called to faith in Jesus by the Gospel.  To receive the Lord’s Triune Name and to be buried with Christ into His Good Friday death.  To be clothed with Christ.  Dad teaches you to pray the Lord’s Prayer.  He brings you to Sunday School and to the divine service.  He makes sure you learn the Small Catechism and that you receive the Lord’s Supper in the way Jesus intended.  Here too Dad is the Lord’s instrument – His hands – His mouth so that you believe in Jesus and receive His gifts of salvation.  So that you are a Christian.

No wonder then that the Fourth Commandment begins with the word “Honor.”  Honor your father because there is a hidden majesty in the office of father.  That hidden majesty is the Lord Himself!  Dad in the office of father is the Lord’s representative.  The Lord’s ambassador.

How are you to honor your father?  You speak differently to him.  With affection.  With high esteem.  You act differently.  With deference.  With humility.  With respect.  With modesty.  With obedience.

Here is where there must be repentance.  I know how it goes.  Children, especially, teenagers treat Dad as if he were their worst enemy.  Dad can do nothing right.  Say nothing right.  You yell at him.  You stew over him.  You complain.  You do not honor him.  You do not want to honor him for the office he has been given by the Lord.  And so not only do you sin against Dad.  You sin against the Lord who uses Dad as His instrument for your good in this life.

So it’s time to confess the sins you’ve committed against your father.  And then use Jesus and His Good Friday Blood to cover all your sin with His Word of forgiveness.

Dads, there must be repentance on your side as well.  You have violated and will buck your vocation of father.  Don’t deny it.  You too are a sinner.  You’re not perfect.  Confess your faults.  Confess the sins against your children.  Like King David, tell the truth:  “I have sinned against the Lord.” 

Men have a hard time with the office of father.  It’s called faithfulness and commitment.  It’s called hard work.  It’s called (by the Lord Himself) “denying yourself” (Mark 8:34) in order to live for your children and for your family.  But let’s face it, you’d rather live only for yourself.  You’d rather not be a father when fatherhood gets tough and exhausting.  When fatherhood calls for difficult choices you choose what benefits only you, not your family.  So you don’t parent.  You’d rather farm out the parental duties to the kids.

Fathers too treat their kids as if they’re your worst enemies.  You complain.  You’re impatient.  You’re too quick to anger.  You don’t act like a little Christ but as a tyrant.

So repent!  And ask – beg for forgiveness.  Let Savior Jesus mediate between you and your children.  Forgive each other as God in Christ Jesus has forgiven you everything.  Speak to each other like Samuel did to David:  “The Lord has taken away your sin.”

Dads, I beg you to use Jesus like the woman that crashed the Pharisee’s dinner party (Luke 7:36-50).  She wasn’t putting the moves on Jesus like the Simon the Pharisee judged.  She wasn’t trying to turn a trick.  Instead, for the first time in her life – to her utter joy that expressed itself in her extravagant emotions and actions — she used Jesus properly!  She gave Jesus the highest worship!  How?  She believed or trusted that all her sin (and it was very naughty sin) was totally forgiven only and in Jesus.  She dared to believe that Jesus came to forgive sinners – even her – just like King David who was just as naughty.

What did Jesus tell her?  He categorically declared:  “Your sins are forgiven.”  His absolution does what it says.  His absolution gives what it promises.  That’s why she loved Jesus so much!  That’s why she stood behind Jesus balling her eyes out!  That’s why she washed His feet with her tears!  That’s why she let her hair down to dry His feet.  That’s why she kissed His feet and drenched them with the expensive perfume.  Her love for Jesus was so extravagant because SHE WAS FORGIVEN!  OF EVERYTHING!  No sin left out of His forgiveness!  She was very precious to Him!

I’m here to tell you today – children and Dads — that, “Your sins are forgiven” too!  Jesus doesn’t leave you or any of your sins outside of His Good Friday forgiveness.

So kids, forgive your fathers!  And fathers, forgive your children!  Confess your sins against each other fully expecting that you will be forgiven for Jesus’ sake.  Speak it.  Tell it.  Proclaim it.  “I forgive you!  Jesus died for you too Dad!”  Or:  “You’re forgiven child.  Jesus Good Friday-ed you too.”   

For where there is forgiveness of sins there are life AND salvation.  That’s precisely why Jesus tells the woman and why I tell you today:  “Your faith has saved you.  Go in peace.”

Forgiveness is salvation!  Did you know that?  I’d better say it again:  forgiveness is salvation.  When you’re forgiven you’re SAVED!

Saved by the Lord’s forgiveness you can now go back home and live in peace with each other.  As fathers and as children.  In the family.  Children – honoring you father.  And fathers – doing the everyday and ordinary tasks of life.  Fathering.  Parenting.  Whereby the Lord uses you as His hands and mouth to care for your children.  To sacrifice yourself for your children.  Living and working for them.  For their benefit.  For their well-being.

As you live and do the office of fatherhood Dads, you model and give a sign to your children of what it means that God is Our Father.  God the Father gives.  He provides.  He cares for His children.  He exists and lives only for them.

So too, with you, earthly fathers!  May the Lord continue to use you men as His instruments for the good of your families, our congregation, and the communities in which we live.  After all, fatherhood (besides being a husband) is the greatest work a man can do.  The Lord has exalted this office together with motherhood above all other walks of life.

Therefore, “Honor your father.”

Happy Father’s Day!

In the Name of Jesus!

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