Salute to the children
"Grandchildren are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children." Proverbs 17.6
After everything we have been through, Somerled's 16th birthday feels like an achievement as well as an occasion for celebration! It is certainly a blessing, for which we give thanks to God.
Parenting is a challenge, bringing with it soaring highs and crushing lows. For some it ends in shame and tears, for others there is relief and joy. It is rarely straightforward. Then again, neither is caring for sick or ageing relatives. While there is no doubt that many go the extra mile as carers within their own families and, as a society, we take far too many of these unsung heroes for granted, most of do it gladly - because we understand the value of life and our particular responsibility to those close to us.
What distinguishes us from other creatures is our capacity for creative thinking. We do not simply act on instinct, nor do we just interact we our immediate surroundings. We reflect, we choose, we plan... Most significantly we appreciate that there is more to life than we can apprehend with our physical senses. Thus we are able to worship God, acknowledge our accountability to him and apply our hope to his promises.
All of this locates us in a web of relationships. These, more than our jobs or our colour or our sexual orientation, define who we are. Therefore relationships deserve our primary attention. Belonging to a family is one thing, enjoying the fellowship of a community or the security of a nationality are significant too. Faith in God opens our eyes to the fact that we are all family and, though we cannot possibly relate personally to every creature, they all matter.