Daly Office Readings for Thursday, Proper 7 Year 1
“And Stephen replied: ‘Brothersand fathers, listen to me. The God of glory appeared to our ancestor Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran, and said to him, “Leave your country and your relatives and go to the land that I will show you.” Then he left the country of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran.” (Acts 7: 2 – 4)
Poor Stephen, he recounts, before being stoned to death, God’s wonderful and gracious deeds in the history of human life. Stephen is on a spiritual high. He remembers Abraham and his trials in his faith. He remembers that for his faith Abraham was about to kill his son Isaac. Stephen is trying desperately to show the people how Jesus and the Way of Jesus is a continuation of what God is doing that began with God’s promise to Abraham. But they didn’t listen.
However, in that story of Abraham, perhaps because Isaac felt the faith (and fear) of his father Abraham in God, he too became a man of strong faith like his father. Abraham’s faith almost cost Isaac his life. It sounds harsh but it made an indelible mark on the soul of Isaac, something that does not always happen with our children today.
From 1 Samuel:
“And [the Elders] said to him, ‘you are old and your sons do not follow in your ways; appoint for us, then, a king to govern us, like other nations.” “(1 Samuel 8:5)
Samuel undergoes the same situation that brought forth his own anointing by God after Eli lost control of his sons and the spiritual leadership of the people. We have a responsibility to mentor our young ones teaching them about God and for us Christians, about God in Christ Jesus. We are not responsible for how much they learn, they must assume some responsibility. But we must both live a life of faith, and teach that faith to those who come after us. One without the other is hypocritical, that is, to teach it but not practice it.
We must be strong persons of faith to raise strong persons of faith. I so wish my own children witnessed me praying more. They saw how I watched football games, how I went to work, how I spent time with mom, how I went to play golf and even how I was serious about going to church. But they did not see me serious about having an appointed time of personal prayer.
Stephen reminds us that God calls the child from the parent at God’s pleasure. Hopefully most of us as parents will grow old. For Eli, who we don’t know much about, except that his sons did not take his devotion to God seriously. For Samuel, we watch him from conception, but still had sons that fell from his teaching. If we are good parents and our kids do not follow our lead, shame on them. If we are bad parents and I our kids are likewise (or not), shame on us. If we are good parents and our kids are likewise, all glory be to God. Therefore in this last case, it will be said of us, “we have grown old and our children have followed in our ways.”
Thanks be to God. John+