Happy Father’s Day!

 20 June 2020 |

To the Fathers this weekend who have not seen their children since the beginning of lockdown, we hope you have a weekend of reunion and loving joy. To others, a chance for celebration of all that fatherhood can mean. Family life for many is the keystone for security and comfort. It is the place where childrens’ characters and personalities can grow and be a force for good in the world. Here, we can learn how to relate to each other and here, amongst those intimacies, lifelong friendships and loyalties are fed and encouraged. The deep blood links are forged in the way we grow up and the way our parents tend and support us; and in later life, how children can care and love their parents. And isn’t it a boon recently to have home schooling and time to relate to and treasure our children.

Of course, not all families are the sunny uplands we wish them to be. Tensions of living so closely and with competing demands, poverty and lack of work bring with them terrible pressures when raising children. For some it may even mean the father is no longer a presence within the family; single parenthood clash with other priorities and needs; the death of a father is sorely felt. Fast modern day living with little time for one another has its own pressures creating many casualties within our communities.

It may be a surprise to many that Jesus was rather ambiguous towards family life. Indeed the Bible is full of negative relationships: brother against brother, parents against their children. Here there are more stories of discord than of peace among families. Yet for Jesus, God is portrayed as the loving and forgiving father figure. When he prayed to God, Jesus called him “Abba” (daddy) and taught his disciples to pray “Our father, who is in heaven…” When the son, who had gone off and spent all his inheritance in wayward living, eventually returns to his father, full of shame, the father rushes out to meet him with love and forgiveness.

Our dads might not always live up to the great metaphor for God that Christians cherish but this weekend, as churches, we can wish fathers everywhere: Happy Father’s Day!