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Sermon Sunday April 14, 2024 The Third Sunday of
Easter
Lessons: Acts 3:12-19
Psalm 4
1 John 3:1-7
Luke 24:36b-48
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy
Spirit. Amen.
My Dad and I were very close, although I was not his
favorite child. That honor fell to my sister who is older than
I am, yet is closest to me in age. Every one of us siblings
knew that to be true when we were growing up. We weren’t
jealous or angry at my sister because of this. It was more
like we were channeling that detective for the old TV show,
Dragnet. That detective used to say, “just the facts ma’am,
just the facts.” My sister was always amazed, and she still is,
when family members tell her she was my Dad’s favorite.
She just never saw it.
Still, my Dad and I had a special relationship. We would
play catch together on his days off, and he would pitch to me
while I practiced my swing in my younger years. We both
shared a great love of baseball and avidly followed all the

major league teams. When I got older, my Dad and I worked
together in our family business. He was always on my case
about my work, until one day I yelled at him, “someday
you’re going to tell me that I was one of the best workers
that you ever had! And while he and I fought like cats and
cats, and yelled at each other a lot, not something that he did
with my sister the favorite child by the way, shortly before
my Dad died, out of the blue, he said to me, “you were one
of the best workers I ever had!” Chalk one up for…me!
Today’s lesson from the First Letter of John made me
immediately reflect on this episode from my life that I just
shared with you about my relationship with my Dad.
Perhaps it brings to mind your relationship with your father,
and whether you consider that was a or is a positive or
negative relationship, a joyful or hurtful relationship, or
even an indifferent or abusive relationship, that was still the
Dad that you had. Some of us may not even want to think
about our relationship, or lack thereof, with our fathers,
because they were just plain awful. APerhaps your
relationship with your father was a multi-faceted and multi-
dimensional relationship, just like my relationship was with
my Dad.

And of course, I can hear somebody saying either out loud
or silently, that God is neither male nor female, or God has
what society might consider both male and female
characteristics, or just that God is Spirit, so how can we
make any kind of comparison here with God as a Father?
All of that is very true, but Jesus did call God his Father, and
while that may have been a sign of the times that he lived in,
please bear with me here. Jesus helps us to remember what a
relationship between father and child should be like.
In this particular Scripture passage, the writer of the First
Letter of John tells us that we are children of God, and it
implies that we are God’s children through Jesus Christ.
What Jesus does for us is allow us to look at being a child
through a different lense. Jesus tells us that each and every
one of us is a child of God, and that this is good! Through
Jesus we have learned that God loves us, no exceptions, and
that we can lean into God’s love, and our relationship with
God as Father can be renewed, restored, and reconciled.
However, each of us, whether we have had what we would
call positive, or wonderful, or negative relationships with
our fathers can forget that each and every one of us is God’s
child. Each and every one of us is God’s special child. Each

and every one of us is God’s favorite. Child. We forget. We
hear negative things about ourselves from others. We often
hear negative things about ourselves from our very own
selves. We may hear negative things about others and may
even repeat those hurtful things. We forget that we are
children of God!
Y’all may remember that scene from the Lion King after the
cub Simba thinks he is responsible for Mufasa’s death.
(Mufasa was Simba’s father and the leader of the pride of
lions of which he and Simba were members.) After
Mufasa’s death, Simba runs away and meets up with the
meerkat Timón and the warthog Pumba. Timón and Pumba
teach Simba to sing the song Hakuna Mattata about living
life with no responsibilities and no worries. Until one day
Rafiki, who is the spiritual leader of not just Simba’s pride
of lions, but of the entire animal Kingdom, meets up with
Simba and literally hits Simba over the head with his big
stick. Rafiki tells Simba that “you have forgotten who you
are.” Of course, Simba is Mufasa’s heir and should be the
Lion King of his pride. Rafiki helps Simba to remember who
he is. Simba is his father’s much beloved child. And as his

father’s much beloved child, Simba does have love, hope,
and responsibilities with his pride of lions.
Now, I am no Rafiki, and I can’t even hold a candle up to
that beloved Disney character, but I would like to help us to
remember who we are, even if we have forgotten! We, each
and every one of us is God’s beloved, special, favorite child.
We are God’s children in spite of any negativity we might
face from others or ourselves. So I am going to say a
negative word or a negative phrase that we might hear from
others, or on the news, or from ourselves. Once I say the
word or phrase, say to yourself, “I am a child of God”
1. So Stupid! I am a child of God!
2. You’re crazy! I am a child of God!
3. Good for nothing! I am a child of God!
4. Use your brain for Pete’s sake! “ “
5. You’ll never be able to do that! “ “
6. Not the brightest bulb in the pack! “ “
Now, please take a moment, turn to the person next to you
or nearby you and say: “Hi, my name is Child of God! Then
have the other person say the same thing to you!
If we say this instead of negative talk, we will remember
who we are and where we come from!

Now, I didn’t grow up with Mr. Rogers and actually used to
be quite annoyed by what I used to think was his namby-
pamby personality,“won’t you be my neighbor?” That is,
until one day I realized that he was actually modeling the
love of God for us through a children’s how. Ouch—just
more than a bit dense there, huh Rev. Katie?
Mr. Rogers used to say the following words to his viewers
all the time, and he wasn’t just talking to the kids. “You
always make each day a special day. You know how, by just
being you. That is you, yourself.” Mrs. Rogers used to tell
us, “I like you just the way you are” He knew and told us
that each on of us is precious, made from love by Love—our
loving God. We are that because we are God’s children. And
we have available to us that amazing, loving, healing,
special, unique, joyful opportunity for a relationship with
God, because we are God’s children.
So, let us go into the world rejoicing in the power of God’s
Spirit this Easter season! Let us remember whose we are.
And let us help others, our family, our friends, and strangers
remember whose they are also, that special, that favorite
child of God’s. Amen.