Guest Writer: Chris Schaefer, Becoming Fathers and Mothers
“What are we going to do when we get home? When the two sons of the parable of the prodigal son both have returned to their father, what then?. They have to become fathers themselves. Sons have to become fathers; daughters have to become mothers. Being children of God involves growing up and becoming like God…How? By welcoming home our lost brothers and sisters the way our Father welcomes us home.” Henri Nouwen, “July 2,” Bread For the Journey, HarperOne 1997.
When I read this, I thought of this picture I took of my daughter and small grandson many years ago. We were at the zoo and one of the animals had frighten my grandson. My daughter bent down to comfort him. The compassion and love on my daughter’s face rocked my heart. I realized that she was a mother that not only loved but that knew how to be compassionate. As her mom, I was so proud and if it was possible I think I loved her more. She had grown up and without even realizing it, was becoming like God. She knew how to welcome her son into her arms when he needed it. When he needed to be loved and comforted. That is exactly how each of us feel when we lean into God the Father’s arms when we need to remember we are loved. When we need His comfort. Our Father welcomes us home. A home that lies in His loving compassionate arms.
Being compassionate with our friends and family really isn’t hard. However, Jesus is telling us to be compassionate to our lost brothers and sisters too. To take that opened hearted caring we feel when we love our children and give it to other children of God. To remember how it feels to be loved by the Father and take that feeling to those we encounter every day. We are mothers and fathers to all the children of God. And remembering the look on my daughter’s face helps me be more loving and compassionate to those I meet just like she was in that picture of her with my grandson.