Honour your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.
A number of years ago I heard the story of a family who had to arrange for the burial of their abusive father. Understandably, they struggled to find words for the gravestone which could be described as honourable.
How do we show honour to our parents in the modern era? Many of us do not live in honour cultures and, instead, might subscribe to the notion that honour and respect have to be earnt. Coming from a broken family myself, I would often describe today’s scripture as aspirational rather than the reality.
Or maybe we should regard this as a lost story. Once upon a time, for many, this was (and still is) the reality. Parents can be honoured. But we are all too aware of the consequences of broken parental relationships, and families put under pressure through poverty, social policy and other such circumstances. Instead, this could be a story which we seek to re-discover and re-invest in. Hopefully, when family life is well, we, the children of those families are well too.
Holy Trinity, in whom the most honourable expression of parenthood and family is expressed, We offer thanksgiving in unease and discomfort. We thank you for those families which encompass the sentiment of todays’ reading. We mourn with those families which have experienced distress; We pray for healing, forgiveness where possible, and protection where necessary. In all circumstances, may Your grace come alongside us, Helping us to rediscover the lost story of the family. Amen
The Rev’d Daniel Harris, Minister with the Rochdale, Bury and North Manchester Missional Partnership