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Like Father, like Son

In his 1988 book, A Cradle of Haloes: Sketches of a Childhood, Elton John’s nearly career-long lyricist, Bernie Taupin, offers a number of telling glimpses into his formative years. One in particular caught my attention: “I’m proud to say that my parents never struck me in anger although God knows they had cause. Whenever one of us did something to displease them it was always the silent treatment that we received and, believe me, there was nothing worse. When you’re used to parental love, the way we were, alienation from that love in any form is crushing.” Sadly, many in the world have never experienced parental love; however, as awful as that is, even worse are the multitude who were forsaken (or felt forsaken) by one or both parents as children, even only for brief periods, as a response to disobedience or disappointment. I can’t imagine the shoulder of a parent in the life of a childthe very shoulder meant to cry on—turning cold. I can’t imagine what that kind of suffering feels like. But I know it’s real. And in our broken world, it happens. Now that Christmas is fading in the rearview mirror, the presents have all been opened, many now already returned, exchanged for something better, or re-gifted. The baby Jesus and his crèche-mates have been boxed up and returned to the crawlspace to sleep in heavenly peace until Walmart reminds us in August that it’s about that time again… And so we move through the rest of the Christian calendar year, oblivious to the baby Jesus who’s growing so quickly. By the time you read this, he will have had his 2nd birthday, escaped death at the hands of a psychotic, half-breed king (really!...check out the 2nd chapter of Matthew’s Gospel), and has already emerged from the Jordan River under the watchful eyes of a doting parent, God the Father, who was moved to exclaim about Jesus from heaven, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased!” (See Matthew 3.) When the calendar turns to the Friday before Easter, the Son will cry “my God!”, not “my Father!”, and God will make no reply (Matthew 27). One commentary notes: “With his dying powers he cries to God and now no longer sees in him the Father, for a wall of separation has risen between the Father and the Son, namely the world’s sin and its curse as they ...

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