Blog Space of Rev. Adrian J. Pratt B.D, pastor at Mount Hebron Presbyterian Church, Ellicott City, MD

Monday, May 6, 2019

Honoring our Parents

In the biblical book of Ephesians we are reminded of one of the 10 commandments. Paul writes “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” (Ephesians 6:1-24).

This coming Sunday in the USA is Mother's Day, when the influence of our parents on our lives will be lifted up. “Family Life” online magazine contributor, Sabrina Beasley McDonald, shares the following story, not about Mothers Day, but Father's Day...

Every Father’s Day I attend church with my parents. During these services, the pastor always asks if anyone would like to stand and pay tribute to his or her father. One by one, people share their memories, and each year without fail, a frail little woman, looking weary from a hard life, stands.
Everyone patiently watches as she rises slowly and confesses in a tired trembling voice, “My daddy was a drinking man. He wasn’t there much, but when he wasn’t drinking, he was a good man … I loved my daddy.” The tears well up in her eyes as she makes her way back down to the pew. She never says much; there isn’t much to say. But she faithfully and sincerely obeys the fifth commandment … even if her father didn’t deserve it.

We don't get to choose who our parents are. Neither can we dictate the way they act towards us. We do not always understand, particularly in our younger years, that they are made of the same flesh and blood as we are. According to Romans 3:23 “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God .” But... we do choose how we will honor our parents.

Last week here at Mount Hebron Presbyterian, our theme was “Gone Fishing.” (sermon here.) This week some of our youth are honoring their parents by conducting morning worship for Mother's Day. The Lectionary theme for the day is that of Jesus being the Good Shepherd. The job of a parent has a lot to do with 'shepherding'... and, for sure, we are all wayward sheep who need the guidance and care of those around us. I'm sure our youth will offer us much food for thought!

As I grow older I realize more and more how much my parents lives were orientated towards the raising of their children. I see how so many of their traits and the good things about their lives have become the positive things in my own life. I am fortunate to have had wonderful parents. I was not a wonderful child, and though they are both now departed, I often feel the light they shine continues to guide me today.

Having raised two children (and now having two grandchildren) I am also aware of how unprepared we are for parenthood. We make mistakes. We may do things differently if we could do it all over again. Thankfully grace is powerful and God is good. And I'm so incredibly proud of the people my children have become.

Surely that's one of the best ways we can honor our parents. Try to become people they would be proud of! As Paul said, “Honor your father and mother... that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.”

I don't normally post links to my own songs... but this recent composition captures some of my thoughts about my own parents and fits with the theme. The words are printed below. Click the title to give it a listen.


Mother dear mother, I know you prayed for me
Throughout those wild years... “Lord, what will that boy be?”
Wish you were here now,
I could thank you for your words,
Not a single one was wasted
Someone must have heard

Father, dear father, religion was never your thing,
Yet you taught me right and wrong, I never wanted for a thing
All those conversations
We'd set the world to rights
I still long for reassurance
That I've turned out alright

Now on a Sunday,
I try and play my part
I stand up there in a pulpit,
And lay bare my heart
Words don't come easy,
Phrases can't always be found
I just keeping praying the Spirit,
Will spread the love around

Don't be a preacher,” that's sound advice,
To which I never listened and so it became my life.
Sometimes I wonder
Where on earth I'd be
If it wasn't for the light
You're shining down on me

So keep shining your light on me
I need those words of advice
And sweet prayers to comfort me.

Now on a Sunday,
I try and play my part
I stand up there in a pulpit,
And lay bare my heart
Words don't come easy,
Phrases can't always be found
I just keeping praying the Spirit,
Will spread the love around

Father dear Father, Mother I still miss you,
But as the years are passing by, I just keep doing what I do.
Standing in a pulpit
Wondering what to say
The greatest gift you gave me
Was love to give away
Love to give away
Love to give away

The Reverend Adrian J. Pratt B.D.

1 comment:

  1. Very Attractive Article and very awesome.
    It really helped me ton. Please to be continued and posts like these.
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    Regards,
    John

    ReplyDelete