How Parenting Taught Me About Pentecost
Being a parent is rewarding. I love my kids and I can’t imagine life without them. I deeply enjoy those moments when I first walk in the door after being away all day. Little footsteps gallop down the hall. They yell “DAD! DAD! DAD!” over and over. I scoop them up into my arms. For one minute I’m a celebrity in my own home.
But wow… being a parent can be smothering. I am an introvert. I need alone time. Ideally, the first half an hour of my day involves me, open Bible, the Holy Spirit, and at least two cups of coffee. Having children can shatter that nice routine. But the Spirit also uses such apparent inconveniences to carve out the image of Christ in us.
I have a blonde haired, ornery, energetic, joyful, intense child in my home who deeply needs me. When he wakes up, he wants dad. When it’s bedtime, he wants dad. When het gets hurt, he wants dad. After church, during the greeting line, the kid literally climbs me, and buries his face into my neck. He clings to his father.
This can be smothering, exhausting, and inconvenient. I realize daily that I am not as patience as I thought I was. But it is also sanctifying. I’m proud and self-sufficient. I don’t naturally fear, love, and trust in God above all things. But in this child, who we once nicknamed “the honey badger” for his intensity, God daily teaches me what it means to have faith, and thus, what it means to be a child of God.
Put simply, to be a child of God simply means to cling to Jesus Christ in faith. To rest in the bosom of the Father who called us to be his own. To cry out “Abba, Father!” through the Spirit. And while I knew all of this intellectually beforehand, its been through the experience of fathering my son that I know in deeper experience what it means to cling to a Father in heaven who first clung to me in the person of Christ.
Pentecost is this Sunday. And Pentecost has everything to do with fatherhood:
“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’” – Galatians 4:4-6
“For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry ‘Abba! Father!’’ The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” – Romans 8:15-16
God the Father sends the Son. The Son creates a family with his body, blood, and empty tomb. The Father sends the Spirit of the Son into the hearts of these sons and daughters. They cling in faith. They bury their faces into the neck of the Father. This is Pentecost.
Come Holy Spirit, and make us cling like children to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen!