One’s mind goes in a multitude of directions when the sermon title is along the lines of child training. If you’re a young person you may think, not for me. I wonder if parents feel very preached to and squirm in their pews. Singles may tune out, unless they are teachers vying for answers as well. I find the truth of the Word so guiding and comforting. Anyway…
Recently I wrote a tribute to my dad since I think one should do these kind of things this side of the River; and I put it here in honor of the child training of which I was once a recipient.
On Your 64th Birthday
You teach like a champion,
Explain with simple illustration,
Demonstrate truth like Jesus did with
Objects common to nature—geese,
Rhythm, the body, our brain!
We celebrated when you turned forty,
Had a party at school in the basement!
I like sixty-four better. Your hair is whiter,
Thinner, rooted deeper in wisdom.
You’ve endured a lot. I wonder if the
Court trials the days you were pinioned
On the witness stand held a candle to this
Past year when covid collapsed your normal
And you suddenly ground gears with brothers.
I think it has stretched you more than
The year you went into service with
Twenty-three dollars or was it two hundred three
In your pocket and the Little Green Duster
As your only collateral.
A recent sermon you preached on harmony
Versus unity struck a tremendous chord
With me. We are all so different.
A kidney, an eye, a toe, or a lung.
If only all would understand it’s more about
Following the Director than singing their own line!
I remember how you used to sing in the
Shower. I’d waken to hear your rich
Melodies, and I still am amazed at your
Energetic tenor every time I sit in the same
Auditorium! I want my children to know
Every song in Praises We Sing. That must
Have been your philosophy back when we
Sang through the books in family devotions.
Speaking of philosophies, I was thinking
Lately of how you taught us that tardiness
Affects others exponentially for when you
Slide in one minute late, but there are ten
Around the table, you have just stolen ten minutes!
You also believed in frugality and switched off lights
As you made your way to your spot at the head.
I guess our family dynamics were more
Enormous than some. That didn’t
Dampen your adventurous spirit of
Driving grandparents and a wife and
Five children to Belize in Nineteen Eighty-Seven,
Or leave behind seven littles but fly the
Three oldest to the other side of the world
To stand on the equator in Two Thousand. I’ve
Been permanently changed because of that trip.
Vehicles are to be driven, not idolized.
Mornings are golden, why squander gold!
Church is for participation in the bride of Christ.
Why miss out? Strangers are unknown friends.
And dogs are for revenue. Thank God.
You told me once how God took you from
The farm – like David from the sheepfold.
How it’s not so much about skill but
Availability, a heart in tune with the Father.
Your prayers are practical because Christian
Living is where the rubber meets the road.
It’s why you don’t need to slam the trunk,
But maybe why you should lift up your
Voice when you speak. And then sit down
When you are done – without circling three times.