SER # 26Wa
FIRST UMC – NEBRASKA CITY
SUNDAY JUNE 21ST 2020
TEXTS: LUKE 15: 11 – 24
THEME: FATHER’S LOVE.
God is Good! All the time! And all the time! God is good!
Our Scripture today is Luke: 15: 11 – 24 “Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them. Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distance country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and began to be in need. So, he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed the pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. When he came to his senses, he said, how many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father, and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants. So, he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. The son said to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. But the father said to his servants, quickly bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring a fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found. So, they began to celebrate.”
Word of God written for the people of God – Thanks be to God.
Pastoral Prayer: Fathers’ Day Litany
The Lord’s Prayer:
Father’s Day originated in United States of America. The idea of Father’s Day came from Mrs. Sonora Smart Dodd. Sonora’s father was a civil war Veteran Mr. William Jackson Smart. He was a single father who raised six children. Her daughter Sonora wanted to honor him. The first Father’s Day was celebrated on June 19th 1910 in Spokane Washington – USA.
Like the Mother’s Day the Father’s Day is a special time when we remember those people who though they were not our biological fathers have acted in such a way that we owe them their love and sacrifice. I would like us to draw our attention to the fathers and what they mean in our faith journey. I know there are those of you who have bad experiences about their fathers and to them I want them to know that all fathers are not like that. Most fathers would go to any length to make sure their family is cared for and sheltered from all dangers. Though Father’s Day is not a religious holiday it reminds us of how important fathers are in the family system. A father sometimes is called to sacrifice many things for the children, because of love.
The notable story in the bible today demonstrate what father’s love looks like. The younger son decided to abandon his father’s love thinking that the world out there offered him a better love. He thought if he had the money all shall be well. We know what happened in this story after he got the shar of his inheritance, he sold everything and moved himself to a bigger town and had good life so he thought, until when he ran out of his money and all the friends and the connections he had disappeared. He could not even feed himself. He had to be hired to take care of the pigs and being a Jew that was a not a kind of job you like to find yourself doing. The Jews considered the pigs as unclean animals. He had to get to the point where he came to his sense the bible say and he had to make a decision. “Do I continue with this life or do I go to my father not as son but as a servant?” He chose to go back home as a servant but when know what really unfold when he gets there. In this passage we learn several lessons about father’s love. On this Father’s Day we can learn the following lessons:
- Father’s love listens: When the son came to his father seeking part of his inheritance, the father did listen to him. We may not know if he tried to discourage him from going away or not but when what we know is that the father fulfilled the wishes of his son. Sometimes as fathers we can be very busy trying to make ends met or other times trying to climb a professional ladder that we have no time to listen to our children. When we listen and hear our children, they know it and it changes their lives. The world we live in is so busy that we might find ourselves chasing things that do not really matter when it comes to real life. Willing to listen calls for one to be present in ways that the children, grandchildren or even great grandchildren feel cared for and want to share. By listening does not mean we always have to agree with what they are saying to us.
- Father’s love never gives up: We may have friends who have given up on us. It is not unusual for people to give up on others. But when it comes to father’s love giving up should not be part of who they are. In our story today we read the following “But while he was still a long way off his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him, he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him” (Vs. 20b). This tell us that the father had not given up on him, he was still waiting for his return. In the same way our father in heaven does not give up on us. We may make mistakes here and there or decide to follow our selfish path, but the moment we turn to our heavenly father he is ready to welcome us back. We judge our actions in relation to his goodness and if we find his goodness better than what we are doing we then turn to him. The young man figured he would rather be a servant of his father than continue living a life of feeding the pigs and eating the pigs’ food. It was David that prayed he would rather live at the edges of God’s house than any other place.
- Father’s love forgives: When people make mistakes or miss the way it is important for them to realize that our father in heaven forgive them when they turn back. When Jesus was crucified and was up on the cross his first words were forgive them, for they know not what there are doing. It is out of love that forgiveness is given, not because we deserve or we are entitled. The young man had formulated what he was going to tell his father once he got home, but his father did not have time for that he was happy his son was back. He uses the words like, “My son was lost now he is found, was dead but now he is alive.” He invites people to come and celebrate the return of the son. In fact, his father restores him back to his original status. “But the father said to his servants, quick bring the best robe and put it on him. put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring a fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found. So they began to celebrate” (Luke 15: 22-24).
- Father’s love is always there: What the son never knew was that just because he left home it did not mean his father’s love was lost. The father still loved his son and kept hoping that some day he will come home. Being present is an important aspect of what it means to be a father. Being present means paying attention when with your children and not have divided attention. I realize some of you listening this message are empty nesters; no children home. But when you have the opportunity to connect with those grandchildren or great grandchildren be there for them. Children need to count on their father’s love no mater what is happening. You may not agree with their decisions but as a father the love has to be there. Our father in heaven loves us no matter what. We read in the book of John 3:16 “For so God loved the world……” his love was always there even when humanity was not expressing it. He did not wait for the people of the world to repent in order for him to love them.
- Father’s love connects children with our Heavenly Father: The bible has many examples of what we call church fathers. Names like Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Moses come to mind. Today we need to remind all the men especially fathers’ the primary responsibility is to connect with God is such a way that they became the faith pillars for their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. All men therefore are reminded that they have a spiritual responsibility to their family. Statistics show that when you have a man who is committed to God there are higher chances of his family being committed to God also. What we are simply saying is that men have to take a lead on the faith journey. As we connect with God we get connected with the church. It is through this connection with the church that we create another circle of family called the Church family. This family (Church) is made up of people who we are related through the blood of Jesus Christ and it goes beyond the color, race, and nationality. We become brothers and sister in Christ.