I would like to redefine “father”. If not redefine it, at least offer a little different perspective on what it means. As a practicing Christian (I say “practicing”, because I am not an “accomplished” Christian like so many people I know) I want to appeal to a few phrases from the bible.
In John 1:12-13 we read “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
Further in 1 John3;1-2 we see, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”
Now, I will grant that I might be making much ado about nothing.
Yet, elsewhere in holy writ we see reference to “offspring”, the “seed” of, and “begotten” when speaking of literal descendents. For my purposes here I would like to champion the idea that being “sons and daughters” encompasses doing the will of and becoming like the father. It reaches beyond discipleship, which embraces the teaching of another person. It is all of that discipleship, yet, it is also the absolute intent to comprehend and emulate the behavior of another.
Jesus Christ proclaimed that he and the Father were one. He was not only a disciple. He was the perfect emulation of His Heavenly Father. If I may, here is a quaint analogy. Jesus Christ was the son of God because he was the sun that shined the Love of God on all mankind. He and God the Father were one in bringing to pass the exaltation and eternal life of man.
At a personal level those that honor their earthly father are sons and daughters because they emulate their earthly father. They do not obey out constraint, but rather out of love, trust, honor, and confidence. In each them, their dads are seen by others. They are sons and daughters of their dads, not simply by birth certificate, but rather because they are like their father. When folks that knew their biological fathers see those children they likewise see the father in those children. It comes out, because it cannot help coming out.
Many a year ago I remember an anti-smoking commercial that showed a little boy sitting under a tree pretending to smoke a cigarette. Then it showed his dad doing the exact same thing, sitting under a tree. Then the commercial made a clear and simple statement, “Like Father, Like Son”.
Because this is a political blog I guess I better say something about politics.
The framers of the Constitution, and George Washington in specific are frequently referred to as the Father(s) of our country. The question I ask is “Are we the sons and daughters of that George Washington?” He placed nobility in public conduct above all else. Do we do the same? He defended the ultimate right of each man to determine his own fate, without the intrusion of the government. Do we do the same?
President Washington is purported to have said “I cannot tell a lie”. Are any of our recent presidents “sons” of George Washington. Are they willing to emulate him. Are they, or members of Congress and state legislatures, willing to sacrifice all for their honor?
Just as Christ said, “All have fallen short of the glory of God”. Thus, we ought not to expect perfection from ourselves as sons and daughters. However, as the apostle John said “to them (us) gave he power to become the sons of God”. Likewise, we have the power to become the sons and daughters of the patriarchs of our nation.
Today is Father’s Day. A dozen generations of fathers have passed since George Washington. Dozens of generations of fathers have passed since Jesus Christ proclaimed “Be ye therefore perfect even as your Father, which is in Heaven is perfect”. Thousands of generations have passed since God placed Adam in the garden of Eden and then asked “Is it good that man should be alone” and then instructed Adam and his wife to be fruitful and multiply.
Today is Father’s Day. Many different values permeate society. Moses delivered a message to the people of Israel, “honor your father that your days may be long…”
The serious question for our day is, “Whom shall we choose to be our father?”