What About Jesus?

Dear Will:

Last Sunday was Fathers’ Day. My kids made me this breakfast that was like a cross between scrambled eggs and French toast—a concoction called “Egg-ceptional Breakfast Bake” that Bryn, my nine-year-old, found in a cookbook entitled New Junior Cookbook. I also got treated to a talent show that included a piano improvisation by Seth (who’s five) and a dance concert involving all three kids, only one of whom is a dancer. And it showed.

It was all good fun. Coming into the day, I told my kids that all I really wanted was some one-on-one time with each of them to talk to them about their faith. Specifically, I told them I wanted them to share with me what it is they believe in.

Seth went first. He said: “I believe in God. I believe that Dinosaurs once ruled the earth. And I believe that human beings lived during the Ice Age.”

OK. Then I asked him, “What about Jesus? What do you think about Jesus?”

“Good,” he said. And that was that.

Jesus himself once asked his disciples (essentially) the same question I had asked Seth. The ensuing exchange was telling, even though it contained no apparent references to T rex or any of his cronies:

When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.  And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.  (Matt. 16:13-17)

That was a telling moment for Simon Peter. It was, as far as we can tell, his first recorded, verbal affirmation of his faith in Christ. And Jesus tells us that that faith was born of personal revelation, sent by the Father through the Holy Spirit.

It kind of makes you want to stop and consider the question yourself, doesn’t it? What about Jesus? If your answer falls anywhere between Seth’s and Simon’s, it suggests that you yourself have at one point or another been blessed with a moment of spiritual insight that is a rare gift indeed. John the Revelator said, “The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Rev. 19:10). You didn’t know you might be a prophet, did you?

I don’t know if I’ve ever shared with you before my own belief. Perhaps it has been implied in previous letters. But let me make it explicit here: I believe that Jesus of Nazareth is the only begotten son of God, my Savior and yours. His teachings guide my life, and his grace is sufficient, as the scripture says, to help me to receive eternal blessings in spite of my manifest shortcomings.

And I also believe that dinosaurs once ruled the earth.

PW

A Lesson for Dad

Dear Will:

Father’s Day provides me a great excuse to tell you why I love being a dad. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life, but at the same time the rewards are immeasurable. Allow me to illustrate:

The other day my four-year-old Seth informed me that he had planned a “lesson” for me. He said that as soon as I was done with what I was working on I should come upstairs and look for the pachycephalosaurus, a small plastic dinosaur which would indicate where I was to sit. It’s hard to say no to an offer like that, isn’t it?

Of course, I finished as quickly as I could and headed to the “classroom.” As it turned out, the “lesson” was broken up into two parts, starting with a play in which I was to take the role of a pachycephalosaurus while Seth played the part of the triceratops. (Some advice: Should you ever have to play that pachycephalosaurus role, you’ll avoid the wrath of the director if you keep in mind that the pachycephalosaurus walked on two legs, not four. Who knew?) The play was followed by a rousing game of Go Fish, which I lost as usual.

The whole sequence of events was a marvelous pay-off for a dad. When Seth informed me that he had prepared a lesson for me, he was saying, in essence, that he wanted some time with me. What a flattering, wonderful thing. He has other ways of communicating that to me as well. On Monday, for example, I stayed home to work from my study rather than go into the office. Every half hour or so, Seth would get bored with what he was doing and, without saying a word, he would slip into the office and snuggle up in my lap. It made it hard to go through my email, for more reasons than one.

The day will come, I’m sure, when my little buddy tires of me and would rather hang out with friends or (gulp) a girl. But for now, I’m still his best pal, a title I bear with great pride. I will do whatever I can to hold onto that position in hopes that we remain pals throughout his life, even when friends and other interests begin to occupy his thoughts and time.

Of course, even as I write this, Seth is trying to figure out how to climb up into my lap. And so I must set down the laptop to attend to more important matters. I hope you understand.

PW