Messiah Lutheran Church 6201 W Patterson Av
Chicago IL 60634

June 2017

Proverbs 6:20-21 gives us the following sage advice:

"My son, keep your father's commandment, and forsake: not your mother's teaching. Bind them on your heart always; tie them around your neck. When you walk, they will lead you; when you lie down, they will watch over you; and when you awake, they will talk with you."

After my mom's homegoing when we were gathered together in the same house where we spent most of our growing up years, we started to recall some sayings of my mom that still echo in our thoughts years later. Such as the following:

The Commandments of our Fathers and Teachings of our Mothers

And since by the time you read this, Mother's Day 2017 has come and passed, and we happen to be celebrating Father's Day 2017 this month, here's are some of my dad's sayings that still echo is my head:

While there are some sayings or teachings of fathers and mothers that may not necessarily be in accord with scripture, I encourage you to also find wisdom in your father's and mother's sayings and advice. For as imperfect as our parents may have been or may be (only our Heavenly Father is perfect), the Fourth Commandment tells us that we are to honor our father and our mother. As Luther explains, "We should fear and love God so that we do not despise or anger our parents and other authorities, but honor them, serve and obey them, love and cherish them".

Luther further elaborates on the meaning of the fourth commandment in his Large Catechism, as follows:

" ... even if we had no father and mother, we should wish that God would set up wood and stone before us, so that we might call them father and mother. Since He has given us living parents, how much more should we rejoice to show them honor and obedience? For we know it is so highly pleasing to the Divine Majesty and to all angels, and it harasses all devils. Besides, this is the highest work we can do, after the grand divine worship included in the previous commandments. Giving to the poor and every other good work toward our neighbor is not equal to this. For God has assigned parenthood the highest place. Yes, He has set it up in His own place upon the earth. God's will and pleasure ought to be enough reason and incentive for us to do what we can with good will and pleasure." (Paragraph 126)

This year will be the first Mother's Day when I won't have the privilege of wishing my mom a "Happy Mother's Day" by phone or in person, and as I have heard others say who have lost their mom, I can now relate to the sentiment, "I'd give anything to be able to talk to my mom, again!" But I'm still thankful that I can still talk with my dad, although his hearing isn't what it used to be, and plan on making the trip to Grand Rapids after worship on June 14th to celebrate Father's Day with him in person.

Admittedly, I did not have the perfect parents. But, then again, I was not the perfect son, either. And I don't have to hire a spy to make the general statement that none of the parents or children of Messiah are perfect either. All of us have sinned and have fallen short of God's standard of perfection, as parents and children. However, the good news, as Christians, is that we have a common Savior, who suffered and died on a cross, so that we might be forgiven of all our sins. In turn, we who have been forgiven such a great debt of our sins are to forgive others of their lesser debt against us. As we say in the fifth petition in the Lord's Prayer, "And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us", including those who are closest to us, who have the greatest potential to hurt us the most in life. For it's easier to get over the offenses caused by those you don't really care about, but not so quite so easy to get over the offenses caused by those you care about the most. As the saying goes, "you only hurt those you love",

In spite of our personality differences and quirks, not to mention our sinful natures that still get the best of us at times, when we follow the example of Joshua by declaring, "But as for me and my family, we will serve the LORD." (Joshua 24:15), we can be assured of the blessing of God in our homes in the midst of all the ups and downs of family life.

As Luther further describes the fourth commandment in his Large Catechism:

I would be very glad - I say it again - if people would open their eyes and ears and take this to heart, lest someday we should again be led astray from God's pure Word (Psalm 12:16) to the devil's lying vanities (Psalm 31 :6). If people would take this to heart, all would be well. For parents would have more joy, love, friendship, and unity in their houses. The children could captivate their parents' hearts (paragraph 121). Besides this, it is our duty before the world to be grateful for benefits and every good that we have from our parents (paragraph 127). But here again the devil rules in the world (Ephesians 6:12), so that the children forget their parents. We all forget God, and no one considers how God nourishes, protects, and defends us, and how He bestows so much good on body and soul (Psalm 23). This is especially true when an evil time comes. We grow angry and grumble with impatience, and all the good that we have received throughout our life is wiped out of our memory (Psalm 78:17-31). We act the same way toward our parents, and there is no child that understands and considers what the parents have endured while nourishing and fostering him, unless the Holy Spirit grants him this grace (paragraph 128). God knows very well this perverseness of the world; therefore, he admonishes and urges by commandments that everyone consider what his parents have done for him. Each child will discover that has from them a body and life. He has been fed and reared when otherwise he would have perished a hundred times in his own filth (paragraph 129).

Therefore, this is a true and good saying of old and wise people: "to God, to parents, and to teachers we can never offer enough thanks and compensation". The person who thinks about and considers this will give all honor to his parents without force and bear them up on his hands as those through whom God has done him all good (Psalm 91:12) (paragraph 130).

Over and above all this, another great reason that should move us more to obey this commandment is that God attaches to it's a temporal promise: "That your days may be long in the land that the lord your God is giving you" (Exodus 20: 12) (paragraph 131).

God bless all the families of Messiah, moms, dads, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc., both biological as well as spiritual.

God bless the Messiah Church family as brothers and sisters in Christ!

Happy Mother's Day (late) as well as Father's Day!

Your Brother in the Lord,

Pastor Wendt

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