I'm writing this while sitting in a planning meeting for the ladies getaway.
I'm with my wife and 8 other formidable women, who are planning to teach, lead, and serve 130 Southlands ladies this weekend in Malibu.
"Why am I here?"you ask. I'm asking the same question. Doctrinal sounding board, maybe?
Whatever the case, I'm happy to be party to the profundity.
These are remarkable, capable women, which is why I have one eye on the meeting and one on the blog! Don't breathe a word.
This past Sunday we honored our Moms. What would we do without the fierce, sacrificial love of our Moms? We looked at the most honored Mom in history; Mary, the mother of God. At Jesus' circumcision as an 8 day old baby, Mary and Joseph presented Him to God. Presentation in the temple was not just asking for God's blessing on a child. The word presentation is parastesai which means to place at God's disposal. It's used in a military sense, as the captain of an army would parastesai his troops to the Commander-in-Chief to use in battle. Joseph and Mary understood that they were stewards of Jesus, not owners. He was being raised to be placed at God's disposal. Disposal. A very strong word.
Simeon, the priest on duty in the temple that day prophesied that Jesus would cause the falling and rising of many, and that a sword would pierce Mary's soul. Glorious pain.
There would be an immense cost to raising their beautiful boy, only to watch him die brutally and unjustly in his prime. It would challenge every motherly instinct of nurture in Mary and every fatherly instinct of protection in Joseph. Disposal. A very strong word.
There were 8 children presented to God this Sunday at Southlands. What struck me was how many fathers wept as they prayed for their children. I think the lights were going on for them that the child in their arms belonged to God, entrusted to them to raise and to be placed at God's disposal.
Great glory in the giving of a child to great things. But not without great pain.
One father choked through tears, "God thank you for this gift. He's yours. He's yours."
Perhaps presentation is more for us parents than it is for our children?
Perhaps it's about presenting ourselves; our hopes, fears and dreams about our kids and praying that they would not hinder God's dreams for them. Perhaps it's about praying that we would remain steadfast in our stewardship of them when a sword pierces our soul.
This kind of gutsy parenting is going to need more than formidable Moms.
It's going to need men to stop being spiritual and emotional absentees.
So many kids seem to be saying, "What would we do without Moms? But what could we do with our Dads?"
Not to mention the huge phenomena of single parent families requiring that spiritual Dad's are needed to fill a gaping hole too.
If we are going to present our kids to God, it's going to require that we as Dads are present ourselves. And presented.
(With this in mind, we are going to do a "Gospel-centered parenting" course this Summer starting 11th July for 6 weeks. Details to follow shortly. To sign up email firstname.lastname@example.org.)