The following is an excerpt from the pastoral newsletter from Pastor Rolf Preus to his congregations for July/August 2017.
Fathers: God has made you the head of your home. Your wife didn’t elect you and you didn’t appoint yourself. This is God’s doing. Moses’ words to the fathers in Israel (Deuteronomy 6:6-7) and St. Paul’s words to the fathers in the New Testament Church (Ephesians 6:4) are crystal clear. It is the father’s job to teach God’s Word to his children. Clearly, the mother assists in this task and if there is no father she does it by herself. But the Bible teaching is that the father of the home is the spiritual head of the home.
This might sound like a frightening prospect, but it is not. Children are a heritage from the Lord (Psalm 127:8). God gives us children to bless us (Genesis 1:28). There is no greater privilege in life than to bring God’s gracious Word into the lives of our children. Check out Luther’s Small Catechism. What does it say at the top of each of the six chief parts of Christian doctrine? It says: “As the head of the family should teach it in a simple way to his household.” The home is the most influential place in our lives. The school may teach our children things that conflict with our Christian faith. It would be nice if we went to church every day, but we don’t. The home is the place where we are grounded in God’s Word.
God is our Father. We fathers do our duty as fathers as we imitate our Father in heaven. He gave. We give. He sacrificed his most precious treasure – his dearly beloved Son – for his church. We sacrifice our wants – whatever they are – for the benefit of our children. And the greatest benefit they can receive from us is God’s Word – in the home and in church.
Fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, grandmas and grandpas, bring the Word of God into the conversations in your homes. Those who are travelling this summer and are unable to be in church on Sunday morning, have church wherever you are. Read from the Bible, sing a hymn, confess the Creed, read a sermon, and pray the Lord’s Prayer. There is a signup sheet in the narthex for anyone interested in buying a volume of my sermons on the Catechism. Jesus tells us that where two or three are gathered together in his name, he is there in the midst of them.
And finally, fathers and mothers need to remember, above all, that we live under the cross. This means we live sheltered by the forgiveness of sins Christ brings to us from his suffering. And we bear our cross. It’s not easy to be a parent. At times it’s a thankless calling. But God blesses all that we do for his children in his name. The cross of Christ’s forgiveness makes our burdens light.