Grace and peace in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Our Old Testament reading is very appropriate for this Father's Day. But first let's talk about the Law of God. The Law is God's will for us to live as His sons and daughters. According to our epistle (1 John 3: 13-18) he who abides in love walks with God. We find our model of love in the 10 Commandments that God gave to Moses on Mount Sinai.
God wrote the 10 commandments on two stone tablets for Moses. In addition, our Lord Jesus Christ spoke of two parts of the Law, so it is useful to talk about the two tables of the Law. The first table deals with our relationship with God. When they asked Jesus, What is the great commandment? Jesus said to them, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment” (Matthew 22: 36-38).
This is a quote from our text for today. The first of the three commandments of the first table of the Law is: Have no other gods besides me. We find this commandment in Deuteronomy, chapter 6. "Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one: and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might."
Jesus also answered the question with a quotation from Leviticus 19: 6. "And the second is like unto it: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the prophets. "
The second table of the Law deals with the love of our neighbors. What is the first of these commandments? Honor your father and your mother. Love of neighbor begins in the family, with honor to the parents.
However, our text also speaks of the duties of parents. "And these words which I command thee this day shall be upon thine heart: and thou shalt repeat them unto thy children, and shalt speak of them when thou art in thine house, and walking in the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up, For a sign in thy hand, and they shall stand as frontlets between thine eyes: and thou shalt write them in the posts of thy house, and in thy portals.” Parents have a responsibility to teach their children in the Word of God for the formation of their character .
St. Paul says so in Ephesians 6: 1-4. "Children, obey your parents in the Lord; Because this is just. Honor thy father and thy mother, which is the first commandment with promise, that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long upon the earth. And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to anger; But bring them up in the discipline and admonition of the Lord. "
Today we recognize the men in the house, who have the responsibility to care for and protect their families. As head of the household, the father also has responsibility for the spiritual formation of his children. The Small Catechism was written by Martin Luther for the heads of the house to teach their children all the things they need to know for salvation: The 10 Commandments, the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, the meaning of the sacraments.
But, no one can fulfill the Law of God perfectly. The fulfillment of the Law is love, but none of us can love God perfectly, nor our neighbor perfectly.
Besides, no one has the perfect family. What should we do if there are conflicts and problems in the family? We seek God for the strength to love.
God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, into this world to fulfill the Law perfectly in our places, and to suffer and die on the cross. In Christ, God first loved us, and in this love we find the strength to love others. By the faith that the Holy Spirit creates in us in baptism, we can love others in the way God has loved us. When there are fractures in the family, with the help of the Spirit, we can reconcile each other.
Because we know the love of God in Christ, with the help of the Holy Spirit, we can see the image of our heavenly Father in our earthly parents, no matter their defects or errors. That's why we give thanks for the blessing of having parents. Also in the love of God we have peace that surpasses all understanding. Amen.
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