Sunday 3rd September 2017

Please come and join us at 10am this Sunday as celebrate “Dads”. New Zealand has a record of ‘father-hunger’ and many children are growing up fatherless. At age 15, only about 1 in 4 teenagers live with both their biological parents. Most teenagers in New Zealand have experienced multiple changes in household composition. About 1 in 4 children in New Zealand are growing up in single parent families and the majority of those single parents are female. Males are the parent in only about 12% of single parent families. I myself was raised by my widowed mother in a one parent family. Scripture has much to teach us about fathers: there we find men who lived with the pain of childlessness, fathers who were blending multiple parent families, and adoptive fathers. We see warrior fathers who sacrificed their children for their mission, and Dad’s who sacrificed everything for their daughters. There are rule-book Dads like Manoah, delinquent Dads like Eli, wounded fathers like David, and waiting Fathers like the prodigal’s Dad. There are fathers in the faith as spiritual Dads. Above all, we see God, the perfect father, who defines his identity toward us as our Abba Father who is in heaven. Jesus himself was co-parented by a man who was not his biological father. Just as Mary was specially chosen, so was Joseph chosen. He was probably much older than his young wife, and it seems likely that Joseph died before Jesus began his ministry. Certainly Joseph was around when Jesus was missing aged 12 but he doesn’t appear later in the Gospel record. Joseph was a man who heard from God, he was courageous and protective, he obeyed the Lord and dared to follow Him wholeheartedly taking risks for the sake of his son. He was a businessman, not a priest, so Jesus was raised a carpenter like his Dad. This morning as we celebrate Fathers, we will explore the nature of Joseph’s contribution as a step-father to his Jesus his son.