Blessed Father’s Day

As we honor our earthly fathers this day, and in so doing honor our heavenly Father (5th commandment), I leave you with this quote from a book I am reading that has left a powerful impact on me, even though my children are all grown (highly recommended, especially those who may have adopted children, as the Wangerin’s did). As he begins his book on fatherhood, Wangerin has these profound words relating to the Fatherhood of God:

…I was altogether too ignorant to choose fatherhood. Rather, fatherhood chose me.

…And only in becoming a father did I even begin to understand what it meant, what it was, what would be required of me, and who I was/am within that identity, father. And what the transgressions of human iniquity would cost us, both parent and child. Frightful!

Nevertheless, the God of the Hebrews chose. Chose the whole scenario. Chose the entire sweep of the parenthood/childhood relationship, both the good and the terrible. For God acted with full knowledge!

And the choosing continues also into our era. Read the intention of God the Father, in the Gospel of John: through ‘God’s only Son’ to draw us into a second birth, granting us to be born …’from above’ and ‘again’ – by which we are made his children.

How can this not move us to a deeper, more ineffable wonder?

Fatherhood caused love in me. Observing my child caused love in me; observing, moreover, my child in his fresh innocence caused love in me.

God, on the other hand, loved first; loved completely before choosing fatherhood. Love chose us. Love caused fatherhood, sui generis, of itself alone. Love found its object and thereby made it (made us) belovely.

Against that standard consider the rest of this book.

And take hope in this: that behind the rest of my story is the Father who can catch the gravest fault and call us all to the image of his own fatherhood.

Or how could I reveal such intimacies as I will give you here?

Father  & Son: Finding Freedom, Walter Wangerin, Jr. and Matthew Wangerin (his adopted son), Zondervan, 2008. pp.23-24

 

How Lovely are Thy Dwellings – Westminster Abbey Choir

YouTube – How Lovely are Thy Dwellings – Westminster Abbey Choir.

 

For our worship music meditation today we link to this video of the Westminster Choir singing Brahm’s “How Lovely are Thy Dwellings Fair”, based on Psalm 84. Beautiful and uplifting.

 

 

Published in: on June 19, 2011 at 12:40 PM  Leave a Comment  

Sunday Worship Preparation – Psalm 37

Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.

2For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.

3Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.

4Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

5Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.

6And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.

7Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.

8Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.

9For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth.

10For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be.

11But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.

 

Psalm 37, the next Psalm for us to look at as we work our way through the psalms in preparation for Sunday worship, is another sharply antithetical psalm of king/prophet David. That is, he again draws a sharp line between the characters, works, and ends of the righteous and the wicked. There is no “middle ground” and no “common” grace that makes the wicked a good man and the righteous just a bit better. No, as the inspired psalmist sees it (and the rest of the Biblical writers too!), there are only two classes of people in this world from a spiritual/moral point of view: wicked and righteous. And the difference is not due to anything in the latter, but to the sovereign, distinguishing, saving grace of God in Jesus Christ. He makes the righteous righteous, by both His justifying grace and His sanctifying grace. And He leaves the wicked as they are by nature: fallen in Adam, wholly corrupt in desire and deed, and destined for everlasting destruction.

 

And here David instructs us in this antithesis in the world, and exhorts us in how to look at life this way, and how to behave over against the wicked. And he was certainly qualified to so teach us. For he saw and lived out this antithesis day by day in his own life. He witnessed and experienced the ways and end of the evil doers. And by the grace of God he lived as a righteous man – not without sin, as we all know – but with trust in the Lord for his salvation and with loving, grateful obedience to God’s ways. And he knew the blessing in life of that man – and the happy end that awaits such.

 

I am not going to quote the entire psalm due to its length, but what I have quoted above is enough for us to see how the inspired prophet would instruct us. As we reflect on these verses, and the rest of the psalm in light of our calling this Lord’s day, v.7 is especially relevant. On this day of rest, we are to enter into the rest God has given us in our Savior. We do that by resting in the Lord and waiting patiently for Him. Of course, we must do that every day, but precisely because we struggle to do that during our 6 days of work, God provides us with this first day of the week to find our rest in Him. And, as the Hebrew word for “rest” here implies, that means we must be silent before God so as to listen to His voice in the preaching of the gospel. That’s the only thing that will calm us and give us peace in this evil world. May God grant you and me such a day today.  Be still before God; feed on His Word; and so find rest for your souls.

 

J.Calvin also has some good thoughts for us on v.7:

7. Be silent to Jehovah. The Psalmist continues the illustration of the same doctrine, namely, that we should patiently and meekly bear those things that usually disquiet our minds; for amid innumerable sources of disquietude and conflict there is need of no small patience. By the similitude of silence, which often occurs in the sacred writings, he declares most aptly the nature of faith; for as our affections rise in rebellion against the will of God, so faith, restoring us to a state of humble and peaceful submission, appeases all the tumults of our hearts. By this expression, the Hebrew verb rendered silent is דום, dom, from which the English word dumb appears to be derived. The silence here enjoined is opposed to murmuring or complaining. …This silence implies the entire subjection of ourselves to the will of God. therefore, David commands us not to yield to the tumultuous passions of the soul, as the unbelieving do, nor fretfully to set ourselves in opposition to the authority of God, but rather to submit peacefully to him, that he may execute his work in silence.