Author’s Note: Interested readers can find all previous volumes of this series here.
It’s Father’s Day, and this is a Bible Study. That means we must begin with Jesus’ most famous prayer known as The Lord’s Prayer — acknowledging HIS Father.
Jesus instructed His disciples to “pray then like this”:
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil (Matthew 6:9-13).
“For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”
The sentence above is often recited at the end of the Lord’s Prayer, but not included in the “official” scripture. If you are interested why, read more about this heavenly matter.
Jesus calling God and praising Him as Our Father is significant because we are to recognize and internalize that He is your Heavenly Father who created you in HIS image. Jesus also teaches us how to pray to God for “His will be done” – not an easy concept to accept from a Father who loves you more than human understanding.
Now, let’s skip from Our Father to my father — Harvey David Kahn (1922 – 2004) was Jewish but non- practicing. He fostered a great distaste for religion (understatement), believing that religion was the root cause of all wars. Dad especially disliked Catholics.
Also worth noting is that when I was growing up, there was not an Old or New Testament Bible in our home.
How Harvey’s non-practicing Jewish daughter (that be me) become a believer of Jesus Christ in 1975, and now attends Catholic Church — is a story for another time. But the following Dad story is for today.
In 2002, decades after my conversion, my Dad and I had an argument about my faith. More specifically, how my love for Jesus was a family embarrassment and upsetting my Jewish mother (also non-practicing.)
During our heated “conversation,” I asked, “What religion was Jesus?” Dad sternly replied, “Jesus was Catholic.” Informing him that “Jesus was Jewish” did not go over well. Honestly, I don’t think he believed me.
Over the years, I have told this story many times. I don’t tell it to denigrate my father (who in all respects was a good man, provider, and faithful husband) but to represent my numerous faith walk challenges and ensuing family struggles.
Today I recount it to symbolize conflict between Father and offspring. Yes, it’s Father’s Day, and we should not speak about paternal conflict, but too bad. Conflict is a fact of life — it exists between fathers, sons, and daughters.
How we resolve that conflict is paramount.
Indeed, we can start, and end, with love and forgiveness. But there is a concept that covers love and forgiveness like a heavenly umbrella. It is not a suggestion, but a commandment. It is from a chapter in a Book written by the hand of God for my ancient ancestors:
Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you Exodus 20:12.
Today you shall honor your Father. It is incredible how, after they pass, you appreciate them more.
While honoring my Father, I offer this scripture:
Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord (Ephesians 6: 4).
Sarcastic, you think? No, just the opposite because my father trained me to be independent just like him. Moreover, since growing up with no faith and knowledge of the Lord, other than Jewish cultural heritage — I was free and open to when the Lord called and instructed me to follow Him. That, I consider a great gift from both my parents.
What follows are a few more holiday passages for you to ponder.
As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; (Psalm 103:13).
The righteous man walks in his integrity; His children are blessed after him (Proverbs 20:7).
Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6).
The next passage is a favorite of fathers for Father’s Day and every day:
Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord (Colossians 3:20).
Let’s switch now to our Heavenly Father because with Him every day is Father’s Day.
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him (1 John 3:1-3).
The “him” John refers to is Jesus.
And to conclude this Father’s Day Bible Study, here is one of my favorite scriptures. It also happens to be one of the greatest, boldest, truest and, some would say, most politically incorrect passages spoken by Jesus that includes the word “Father.”
"I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6.)
Today I pray that Harvey Kahn came through “Catholic” Jesus and is with the Father.
Perhaps someday we can laugh about that bizarre conversation in His presence.