Truly, Elijah does come first, and puts all things in order. Mark 9:2
Industrial revolution stole fathers from their sons
A little more than 200 years ago, the industrial revolution changed the way people spent life together. Factories had workers leave home for work and gather in dedicated buildings. Families that used to live together in generational houses, both in farming and in crafts, were torn apart. The modern city featured small apartments and houses for factory workers. But worst of all, fathers left the house in the morning and did not take their children with them, teaching and fathering them at the same time.
Sons and daughters used to have many example of a male role around. Grandfathers, father, uncles, older brothers. But now, men were few to watch, and usually gone.
This was a major blow on man and mankind.
Girls started to date and marry the fantasy of their mothers of what a man should be like. Boys started to behave like their mothers wanted men to be. Modern role models of man were born. Granted, not immediately, but look around.
God is a father with a son and a son with a father
But why are fathers so important? Think back to before the beginning. Before creation, there was only God. And he is a father with a son and a son with a father. Both. Thus, the relationship between fathers and sons is the oldest there is and a shadow of the heavenly relationship between God and Jesus. No wonder it is in the focus of the enemy.
Independence versus inclusion
Emancipation. The word means to declare a son free and independent of his father’s power. What it actually does is take away responsibility from men.
Sons were never meant to be emancipated from. They were meant to be adopted into. Let me explain.
Emancipation focuses on independence, adoption focuses on inclusion. I do not mean modern adoption as you know it. I mean the age old formula that God the Father spoke over Jesus when he was baptized: This is my son in whom I am well pleased. Listen to him. With this formula spoken in the gates of the city in front of the elders, a father shared his own authority with his son as he came of age. From then on, the sons word was worth the same as the fathers.
Inclusion into power and authority, working together, representing each other. The son thriving on the accomplishments of the father, the father profiting of the strength and youth of his son. In contrast to breaking free into independence.
When Jesus referred to Elijah coming, he thought of the book of Malachi. It says that Elijah will come and turn the hearts of the fathers to the sons and vice versa, lest God had to destroy the world.
Our purpose is to mirror this relationship between the father and the son. Intergenerational cooperation. Honoring our inheritance, investing into the next generation. Otherwise, this world will perish.
Putting things in order
OK now, and how to go about this?
Am I a reactionary, wanting to go back to a rural life style with big multi-generational families? By no means. I love the accomplishments of the industrial revolution as much as anybody else. Hey, I used to be a computer programmer, and still use the computer for writing, as you can see. Or where do you think this post comes from?
And still. As a computer programmer and writer I can imagine a world with fathers working from home on flexible schedules, actually fathering their children. And mothers as well.
But there is another place were fathering becomes important, and easier to implement even.
Imagine a church that actually acts like the church family it is often called. Fathers investing themselves into sons. Sons wanting to learn and profit from age and wisdom. Mothers showing young women the ways of life.
A few years back I got to know an English gentleman, a pastor and wise man in the church. Since he has long passed the age people expect you to retire, most have drawn back from him. Almost nobody wants to hear anymore what he has to say.
His biggest desire: to die empty. Unlike Elisha. Elisha had been promised the double blessing of his father Elijah. And count the miracles he did: almost twice as many as Elijah. At the end he was short by one. Remember that a dead man thrown into his grave came to life to fill up Elisha’s measure? My friend and father does not want to die with left-over power. What he needs? Sons to receive.
Young ones, you are so full of strength. Imagine you could use it to make your own mistakes instead of repeating ours? Get some wisdom. Fathers, you have seen so much. Imagine your sons go further than you ever will? Stop being jealous of their youth, help them.