by Will Schmit
Friday the 13th. First things I see on my calendar are a dental appointment and a deadline. Reminds me of something my father would say, “It’s important to keep your sense of humor. If you lose it, you’ll have to use somebody else’s, and there’s no telling what you’ll get.”
I’m sure many of us have favorite paternalisms, but the greatest of them all has to be found in Matthew 3:16-17. When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighted upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
Imagine the vote of confidence we might carry into the world if we heard such a thing from our earthly fathers, let alone an audible voice from heaven. On a recent ministry trip to Pelican Bay State Prison we were discussing the types of messages our fathers gave by either their presence or their absence in our lives. Needless to say the majority of the inmates had little to say about any positive encouragement or loving acknowledgement they received from their dads.
The discussion shifted to how we are now perceived by Our Father in heaven as being in Christ, and to demonstrate, each inmate came forward, said his name, and heard his name repeated as being a beloved son of God, in whom He was well pleased.
We went on to include the trustees, the folks in the office, and the visiting pastors in the exhortation of our adopted, blood-bought position of being grafted into the Holy Family by Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection. One of the visiting pastors wouldn’t admit to seeing any doves descend but said his hair was definitely blown back by the presence of the Holy Spirit in the room. Such is the power of words, especially the living and active Word of God in assembly.
This Father’s Day we’ll be going back to Pelican Bay State Prison. You don’t have to go to jail to be blessed, but we know it’s important, if you do go to jail, to bless someone. Pray for our trip and we’ll pray for your family. The extended olive branch of Christ’s peace is here to remind us that every day is a great day to speak well pleasing affirmations to the beloved sons and daughters of God.
It’s true actions speak louder than words, but some words are an act of faith and mercy unto themselves. Take some time to listen, and repeat, what God the Father says about you. “This is (______), my beloved, in whom I am well pleased.”