Sunday 21st June 2020
Father’s Day Service
Led by Dr Herman Wheeler, Henry Adu & Cel Binns
Call to Worship
For though you might have ten thousand Guardians in Christ, you do not have many Fathers.
Indeed, in Christ Jesus I became your Father through the gospel.
Song: Lead Us Heavenly Father Lead Us.
Opening Prayer: Cel
Father we praise your holy name, you are our rock and our fortress.
In you we do trust, we praise you for your grace and favour.
We thank you that you created us to live in peace and love
In our communities based on your Kingdom.
Guide us as we try to live in that way.
Father God you are the carer of all.
Forgive us when we do not treat each other with tenderness and compassion.
When we do not love each other as ourselves,
Forgive our selfishness and pride, and guide us to humility.
Grant that through your grace an attitude of love, care and compassion,
We will be rooted in Jesus Christ our Lord and saviour.
Lord’s Prayer: Jordan
Song: Father We Love You
1st Bible reading: Genesis 22 v1-12. Robert
2nd Bible reading: Matthew 10 v24-39. Vic (in Punjabi)
Song: How deep the Father’s Love
2nd Bible reading: Matthew 10 v24-39: Henry
Song: Father I Place Into Your Hands
Message: Dr Herman Wheeler
Reflections for Father’s Day
Father’s Day reflects the criticality of fathers' contribution to their children's lives. Although occurring on different dates globally, Father's Day recognises the contribution of fathers to parenting. It's a ‘sacred’ day, because God is also a parent, of Jesus and us too. Yet God sacrificed Jesus to redeem us. Sacrifice? How does this fit with fathers being, loving, caring & protective?
A little Uncomfortable for me! If God truly loved Jesus why did he make him die for Adam's troubled race? Hard to grasp, isn't it? I feel God was looking at the bigger picture - a whole world of other sons and daughters who He felt He needed to preserve, care, love and protect. He was probably thinking, when my other children see I have sacrificed my beloved Jesus, they will know I love them, they owe me their lives, honour, love and worship.
So we have to make sacrifices and commitments to justify God’s love for, and trust in us. This will gain us eternal life in heaven with God!
God demands much, and tests us. In Genesis Chap 22, God tested Abraham's commitment. Abraham take your beloved son Isaac, to the Land of Moriah and sacrifices him to me. Abraham, obedient to God, responded at once. He was about to kill Isaac when God stopped him. He had passed the test. I don’t know how I would have reacted. Truely!
Sometimes as parents and non-parents we face such major challenges, we wonder how God could possibly put us through them. Have you been there? But God is testing, so we must remain totally loyal to pass the test. The Bible tells us God is a ‘jealous God’. So he demands total loyalty.
The reflection on the fatherly notion, shows our struggles on earth, are temporary. Sins and earthly struggles will disappear when the body is destroyed and the soul set fee. Amen? Then every day will be like Father's Day - happy, gifty, eternal bliss! To get to heaven though is hard; a sustained prayerful commitment and trust are needed. Nothing in life is easy.
In Matthew 10: 26 through 29, and 34 through to 37, Jesus states He hadn’t come to bring peace, but the sword – fights, wars, strife, racial hatred, all sorts of contentions. To set sons against fathers, daughters against mothers etc. Our worst enemies will be members of our own families. Horrible, isn’t it? A frightening, turbulent proposition! We are warned. The turbulence is here now, some fathers are pre-maturely removed from their beloved offsprings in the USA particularly; the covid 19 pandemic, is taking many fathers, those we love, mothers, grand parents and others too; it's causing serious unemployment, few jobs! Let's pray and honour God for the additional time the pandemic gave us with Him.
In Matt 10: verse 37, God issued us harsh challenges – if you love your own fathers and mothers more than me, you are not my disciples. But he reassures, don’t worry if you lose your life fighting for me. You will regain it, as a more fulfilling life with God. No more sufferings! No more pandemics! Promises worth striving for, eh? But getting to heaven won't be easy. We have to work at it.
In Matt 10: 26, Jesus says, have no fear. Be afraid of no one! Whatever is covered up will be uncovered. We see in America today where fathers are being gunned down, choked and knee pressed to death due to racism, hate, wickedness, cruelty, bigotry, dominance, fascism, greed and disrespect for others. Thus many children are fatherless this Father's day. We have to pray for God's guidance and keeping. The world is so turbulent. Those of us lucky to have good fathers must celebrate and pray for those who haven't. We are fortunate. My own father was a gem, a wonderful, kind man. I aspire to be like him. All children are entitled to kind parenting, but not all get it. Let's pray for all children this Father's Day.
Sometimes we think God has abandoned us, but he is constantly here, exerting power and influence. Around the world people are marching and protesting at the cruel, public killing of one father, George Floyd. There are many more like him, some hidden, but all are coming to light. Do we say Amen? In Matt 10, Jesus says, what is covered will be uncovered. So today decent, fair-minded people around the world are so incensed at the public lynching, that their fury and disdain are becoming unearthed; thus they march and protest for justice. Hallelujah!
People's introspection has uncovered love. Enough love to make them unearth videos showing past abuse, injustice and hate crimes they prior filmed on their mobile phones, but had not the courage to show or speak upon. But they are not afraid anymore, so they are handing them over for investigation, for justice to be served. Another Amen? God is speaking out, YES, to all of us. Turn from evil. Repent! Thus a new reality is born in our Christian society. People now seek justice rather than hate. Long may this continue. Another hallelujah?
Dominance and threat induce more fear, so must be put down. Many anti Christs are around today, so we must be watchful. Thank you Lord.
The time is ripe for what Matt. 10: 27 says, what you have heard in private, shout out from the housetops. The end is near. We need a new, profound, awakening, empowerment, a sense of fairness, justice and greater concerns for our fellow men, responding to Matt 10: 26 – have no fear of anyone, because I the Lord is with you.
It isn’t by accident that in diverse parts of the world evil, dark secrets are coming to light. God works, in mysterious ways. When we think he is absent, he suddenly appears. Sometimes we complain, where were you Lord when I needed you? In Matt 10 v 27 Jesus says, What am telling you in the dark you must repeat in daylight. Reveal evil, abuse, etc.
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! Powerful emblems and representations of human cruelty, once symbols of pride, are coming down, once priceless bronze statues, now seen as evidence of depravity, human cruelty and abomination are being torn down. Bristol! London! America! People's consciences have been stirred. They have emerged from the dark, unafraid fighting racial hatred.
Back to this blessed, glorious day, Father's day. I love being a father, first an adoptive father of 3, then in Dec 2012 God said to me in three separate dreams Am giving you the chance to become a natural father. Go for it! I did. The rest is history, little Herman Christian John Wheeler Jr was born. So today is special for me. Thank you Lord.
I recall reading some research on fatherhood; it found that sometimes some black fathers have children in different places, and are sometimes absent. There is an historical reason for this. Without going too deeply into this (it's not a history lesson) you should read an historical letter from the infamous Slave owner Willie Lynch, a British slave master in the West Indies. He effectively used some of the most brutal strategies to devalue the black father and remove him from parenting, the family unit and caring father role. But we are making a comeback! Amen! Hallelujah! Thank you Lord. Willie Lynch’s letter of 1712 to other US slave owners in Virginia Colony, can be found on Youtube. It makes interesting, fascinating reading! ('Lynching came from his last name!)
Willie Lynch's strategies were so brutal that they killed off most of the Arawak Indians, first indigenous slaves in Jamaica, but we the Negroes survived for some reason!! Promote children's happiness everywhere. Jesus reminds us, don't be afraid. Don't be afraid to speak out if we see children being abused. Matt 10: 28 Jesus says:
Do not be afraid of those who kill the body, but cannot kill the soul.
Be afraid (only) of God who can destroy soul and body.
At verse 24, Matthew 10 says: No pupil is greater than his teacher. No slave greater than his master. I have a problem with both. In the case of the teacher this may be so initially (i.e. in terms of the amount and quality of understanding, knowledge, academic know-how and problem solving skills imparted by the teacher). However in some cases it is just a matter of time before the pupil becomes greater than his teacher. My dad used to say, when you are at the top be nice to people below you, least when you are going down you meet them coming up, rising above you. So at some point the pupil could rise above the teacher. However, I have a more critical point to make with respect to this notion of both the teacher and slave master being greater than the pupil and the salve. My contention? Well greatness here depends on the nature, philosophical values and principles being imparted by the slave master and the teacher and the methods used. If the methods, objectives and intentions of both are objectionable to mankind and God, they are not worth imparting. Worthless!
So then both teacher, slave master and a father for that matter would in God's sight need a new enlightenment and a new awakening in Christ. Where relevant retraining, reorientation, good model
figures to emulate, an enlightened philosophical outlook embedded in humanity, love and mutual respects of persons are needed. Effective communication, emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills are much needed tools too!
So I don’t accept the contention that the teacher and the slave master are necessarily greater. Some slaves are kind and protective to their rotten masters, even at the expense of their children and wider family.
Father's day is such a wonderful day, God's day in two ways. One, in everything we must give God thanks. Two, God is a father too, of Jesus and all of us.
I hope all listening, fathers and mothers too will go home and enjoy a beautiful Sunday lunch.
Thank God! Amen!
Song: Goodness of God
Prayers of intercession: Cel
Father you send your Son into the world so he could bring fullness of life to all people.
We thank you for your unconditional acceptance and reconciliation through the cross.
Give us a heart to celebrate and share that reconciliation, with those who have needs.
Help us to announce the good news of fullness of life, and to do actions which achieve it.
And to speak out against those things that restrict it.
Let us be brave in speaking out for those who live on the margins of society.
Let us be brave in our condemnation of systems and policies that cause many to suffer.
Let us have the bravery to open our eyes and see causes and effects.
Let us have the courage to battle for justice, and be a voice for change in the world.
Let us care for one other at work play and worship and bring hope and healing in our communities and beyond.
We pray as we journey with you Father remind us of your presence.
Lead people around the world to extend hospitality to immigrants and in doing so encounter sisters and brothers.
Guide those who make and enforce immigration policy to do so wisely and well.
We pray and are reminded of your people leaving Egypt to keep safe in the promise land
We now pray for all those today on our prayer list, may your love surround them and bring them the healing and wellness through Christ our Lord and Father.
Song: How Great Thou Art
May the Father inspire you with the gift of love
May the Son enliven you with the gift of joy
May the Spirit enfold you with the gift of peace
May God, Father, Son and Spirit abide with you always.