In the footsteps of our faithful fathers

As we approach Father Day 2018, we find a number of references to fathers and fatherhood, topics of ongoing concern during these uncertain and turbulent times. From Proverbs 23:24-25 comes the Verse of the Day for June 15, 2018, two days before Father’s Day:

Proverbs 23:24-25 in the New Living Translation:

24 The father of godly children has cause for joy.
What a pleasure to have children who are wise.
25 So give your father and mother joy!
May she who gave you birth be happy.

The Message Bible renders the passage this way:

Listen with respect to the father who raised you,
and when your mother grows old, don’t neglect her.
Buy truth—don’t sell it for love or money;
buy wisdom, buy education, buy insight.
Parents rejoice when their children turn out well;
wise children become proud parents.
So make your father happy!
Make your mother proud!

I recall lyrics to one of the hymns sung so many times as child and as an adult, which always seem most appropriate at this time:

Faith of Our Fathers:

Faith of our fathers, living still,
In spite of dungeon, fire, and sword;
Oh, how our hearts beat high with joy
Whene’er we hear that glorious Word!

Faith of our fathers, holy faith!
We will be true to thee till death.

Faith of our fathers, we will strive
To win all nations unto thee;
And through the truth that comes from God,
We all shall then be truly free.

Faith of our fathers, holy faith!
We will be true to thee till death.

Faith of our fathers, we will love
Both friend and foe in all our strife;
And preach thee, too, as love knows how
By kindly words and virtuous life.

Faith of our fathers, holy faith!
We will be true to thee till death.

As believers we have a remarkable inheritance of faith, the Faith of our Fathers, that has been passed down to us from countless generations, going back to Abraham, the father of faith, passed on to the mighty men of faith of the Old Testament all the way through to Jesus Christ, for we have received the “faith of Jesus Christ.” Moreover we are surrounded by the great cloud of witnesses spoken of in the New Testament and mighty giants of faith who have lived beyond the first Century, as we are still inspired by the lives of great men of faith today. Men of faith inspire faith in others, as this poem encourages us to follow:

In the footsteps of our faithful fathers

Follow the steps of good men instead,
and stay on the paths of the righteous.
Proverbs 2:20

We still walk the paths of the righteous, chosen ones,
In the footsteps of our faithful fathers, as sons
And daughters follow their lead all along the way,
Acknowledging God in all that we do and say.
We have not been here, for each step is strange and new.
Moving ahead, our eyes are now only on You.
As we continue to pursue the paths of truth,
We see Your guiding hand has been there since our youth.
Former days intertwined in confusion and strife,
In darkened, dead-end pathways, all bearing no life.
Along our journey we have known Your grace before,
Assured that Your favor will abound even more.
We are strengthen and encouraged in this new phase
And pledge to press onward for the rest of our days.
We are strengthen and encouraged in this new phase.

Just as we are strengthened and encouraged by the lives of our faithful fathers, so we will strengthen and encourage those who come after us. Steve Green closes with this musical expression of our heart’s desire: “Find Us Faithful”:

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