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The Word in Your World

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THE FATHERLY ROLE

“You know that we treated each one of you just as a father treats his own children”.

1 Thess 2:11 GNB

One of the titles given to ministers is “Father”. In the Catholic church it is the normal form of address. It is also the word used for the Pope. He is “The Holy Father”. “Many stories are told about the great-heartedness of the late Pope John XXIII. One day he visited a Roman prison where he spoke to the prisoners about the all-sufficient grace and mercy of God, the Father. Afterward, a murderer stepped up to him and enquired wistfully, ‘Does that go for me, Father?’ Whereupon the Pope threw his arms around the wretched man and drew him closely to his bosom in one glorious gesture of compassion and yearning” (Upper Room Disciplines, 1967, p156).

Paul had previously used the image of a mother when he wanted to emphasize how gentle the apostles were in dealing with the Thessalonian Christians. But the father can also be a significant figure. Gordon MacDonald told how his father took him up a mountain slope to learn to ski. At first the father made the son ski inside his firm and strong hold. But three attempts later MacDonald said the father’s hands were lighter in their grip on the boy. Then after starting the fourth time the father said, halfway down the slope, “Go ahead, son, you’re skiing by yourself” (G. MacDonald, Restoring your Spiritual Passion, p149”). A father teaches and guides – and trusts. This was how the three apostles acted towards their new believers. They guided them – and showed them how to live the Christian life in a society that was hostile to their new-found faith. Likewise guide those you can in Christian living.

PRAYER THOUGHT

Lord, help me to guide others in Christian living.

PRAYER OF INTERCESSION

Lord, bless those families who are undergoing strain. Help the members to be extra tolerant towards each other and to be understanding. Help them not to reply to unkind words with retorts that increase strain and animosity. Help them to heal the rifts. I ask it in Jesus’ name. AMEN

I.B.R.A. Readings
Jeremiah 18:1–11


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