Monday, April 3, 2017
Whatever became of Jonah?
As I contemplate the birth of my first grandchild, this whole subject weighs even more on my shoulders. As grandparents and as parents we owe our children the favor of telling them the great stories of the Bible. We owe them a deep and abiding familiarity with the acts of God that prepared the way for Jesus and the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord. We have a sacred and solemn responsibility to pass on the faith in the deliberate manner of telling these stories of the Bible as much as in the observable character of our faith and piety.
It amazes me how many people under the age of 30 come into my parish with little or no background in Scripture. They do not know Jesus from Moses and it is not their fault. They were not raised in the faith and, even if they were taken to church every now and then, they were not given this knowledge. These are the same parents who made sure they ate organic food, wore clothing not made by children working sweat factories, sat in car seats, had fluoride in their water, did not contribute to global warming, and were raised in politically correct environments that celebrated diversity. The things of the day are highly visible in their daily lives (and their children see this) but not the things of eternity.
How is it possible that we are so smart about some things and so ignorant about others? How is it that we insist we need to provide everything from the right food and friends for our children but then leave matters of sin, death, and eternity for them to find out on their own (if they want to)? How is it that we can be so sensitive to the feelings of those who demand rights, approval, and acceptance but then are insensitive to and offended by the message of forgiveness, life, and salvation in Christ? Our children deserve better from us as parents, grandparents, and godparents. They deserve to hear the great history that unfolded according to God's design, flowering into the incarnation of Jesus Christ, His suffering, death, and resurrection, and the mercy that welcomes all. They deserve to know that their lives are not random or accidental but that they were fearfully and wonderfully made by the God who has prepared for them an everlasting future that death cannot steal.
The longing built within us will find satisfaction somewhere -- unless we as parents, grandparents, and godparents direct it to its right fulfillment, sorry substitutes will be tried and fail our children and leave them broken and wounded. We were created for God and even sin cannot erase that purpose -- only confound and confuse it. Teach your children well. Give them not only a moral foundation but knowledge of who God is by teaching them what God has done -- the ultimate act of God being the gift of His Son.