Good Morning and welcome to worship today.
I have been an ordained minister in the Uniting Church for the past eleven years and until today I have never preached a sermon about The Father Heart of God. Many years ago I was aware of a book written by Floyd McClung called the Father Heart of God. I’ve read the book this week and feel that on this Father’s Day that I’d like to preach on that topic.
McClung says that one of the most wonderful revelations in the Bible is that God is our Father. Nevertheless, I’m sure that the word “Father” conjures up many different thoughts and reactions for all of us. Does the word ‘father’ make you think of protection, provision, warmth and tenderness? Or does another series of words or pictures flood your mind. In the New Testament, God is revealed as a gentle, forgiving Father, desiring to be intimately involved with each and every detail of our lives. It is not only a beautiful picture, but also a true one. However, every person seems to have a different idea of what God is like, because they unconsciously tend to attach feelings and impressions that they have of their own concept of their heavenly Father. Good experiences bring us closer to knowing and understanding God, just as bad experiences create distorted pictures of our Father’s love for us. Understanding the character of God is essential if we are to love God as he intends.
Today we are going to explore some facets of God as ‘Father’, notwithstanding that there are also representations and images of God as ‘Mother’ within the framework of scripture such as “How often have I wanted to gather your children together as a mother hen protects her chicks beneath her wings …” (Luke 13:34) and in Isaiah 49:15 where it says “Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness to her child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you”. The bible emphasizes both the maleness and femaleness of God and we should not forget that more complete picture of God as we grow in our relationship with Him. However, today I’m highlighting this beautiful understanding of the ‘Father heart of God’.
Everyone at some stage has asked the question, “if there is a God, what is he like?” The Bible says that God is not a finite being like me and you, but God has made himself known to us in such a clear, understandable way that we can know what he is like: ‘No one has ever seen God; the only Son . . . he has made him known’ (John 1:18). So God looks like Jesus. It is Jesus who reveals the father, “They who have seen me have seen the Father (John 14:9). Jesus is God in human form. As we look at Jesus and examine his relationship with God and vica versa, we we see a glimpse of what the Father heart of God is like.
On this Father’s Day lets not be disappointed in our human expression of Fatherhood and it’s failings and shortcomings, but let’s be encouraged by the magnificent expression of love that has been poured out on the world and on us as creation by the Father heart of God.
May you experience the healing embrace of your heavenly Father …. this week….Rev. Brad Foote