Christ parents us all and expects us to ‘parent’ others

Published 10:30 pm Friday, April 27, 2012

It is a rare parent who, after entering the teenage years with their children, have any interest in beginning again. They will often remark they “loved” the experience, but now look forward to some time in a quieter home, fewer growth-enhanced quarrels and a lower grocery bill. They also look forward to having grandchildren, feeding them sugar-laden goodies and then sending them home to their parents. These, now grandparents, anticipate the strain, “Grandpa and Memaw are the best,’ and they know the “sins” of the childhood days of their children, now-parents, shall now be visited upon them.

There is a well-used expression, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Even those who have not had any heart, or legal, children in their home have had a hand in raising others. Volunteering, babysitting, teaching and being a good neighbor, are only a few of the ways we are all participating in the raising up of the potential in our kids to become good adults. Sometimes we are strong in our work … there are times when we fall short. There are times we fall in our human-ness.

As Christ Jesus stood on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, He spoke of the parenting relationship between God and us. He provided, for us, a blueprint of the expectations of us. When asked how to pray, Jesus began, “Our Father, which art in Heaven …”

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These six words affix our relationship with our Creator. He is not your Creator, or my Creator. He is all of ours. He does not stand apart from us, as He is ours, as a God both without and within. There can be no separation from us with God, except by sinful human choice. As our Father in God, he is not only the spiritual Father, but also sent His son to earth to teach us, as a parent teaches his children. Jesus’ entire earthly ministry was to teach us, by thought, word and deed.

These next four words, “which art in Heaven,” from which we know as the “Lord’s Prayer,” convey the promise of salvation and where the promise is. Heaven is not so much a place, as every place is with God, but more the absence of evil. Imagine no sickness, strife or concerns. No petty jealousies, cares or woe. This is perfection. This is eternity. This is the promise of salvation. This is the place, to which Jesus calls us.

What is so remarkable about all of this, in our relationship with our Heavenly Father, is his inestimable love for us. Never tiring, always at our side in triumph and trial, Jesus is there. Unlike us earthly parents, who weary of our charges and our children, Jesus is there to support us in our wearied state. Yet, He calls us to use these same gifts of parenting with our own. No, not just the kids who live under our roofs, but all of those around us. Guiding, teaching, coaching, counseling…are not we all the children of God?