Sunday, June 16, 2024

Father’s Day

All photos courtesy of Unsplash 

Father's Day is a relatively modern celebration compared with Mother's Day. It originated in the US by a woman called Sonora Louise Smart in Washington. After her mother died in childbirth with her sixth child, her dad brought up the family.

In 1909, Sonora heard a speech in church about Mother's Day and thought dads should also be celebrated. Several local clergymen accepted the idea and it is believed that 19 June 1910 was the first unofficial Father's Day.

In 1966, US President Lyndon B. Johnson decided the third Sunday in June should be Father's Day but it did not became official in the UK until 1972.

I especially want to acknowledge fathers today, or those who are like fathers to us - we hope that today is a very special day for you and for those who love you.
One of the things I love about the Scriptures is just how honest they are because Biblical authors make no attempt to sugarcoat anything. 

To be truthful we have to admit that we can see ourselves in the failings and mistakes of Fathers in the Bible. Today, especially, it is worth remembering the unflattering way the authors of Scripture present and portray fathers. 

Abraham, the father of all who have faith, could not trust God enough to protect him and his wife. On one occasion he convinced Sarah to lie for him, setting such a bad example that his son Isaac would later do exactly the same thing.

Isaac’s favouritism between his children almost led to murder. He also failed to teach his children to behave any better and his son Jacob would go on to make the same mistake. Favouring one child over the others tore his family apart.

Samuel, spent so much of his time travelling that his sons strayed far from God. Even David, the gold standard for leadership in the Bible, failed so miserably as a father. One son murdered his brother, and then tried to overthrow his father’s kingdom, plunging the nation into civil war.

Time and time again, the Scriptures remind us of the brokenness and failings of earthly fathers.

In Psalm 139, we see perfect Fatherhood in action. We see how God as Father behaves. God the Father gives, helps, blesses and provides.

We see a Father whose eyes and mind are never far from His children; a Father who pursues them relentlessly and unfailingly wherever they go, even however far they run in their attempt to leave Him behind. We see a Father who cannot and will not be separated from His children by their troubles and challenges.

We see a Father who painstakingly, intricately, intimately knit us together in our mother’s womb, fearfully and wonderfully making us with care and attention. We see a Father who knows us inside and out - who knows who we are, and where we have been; who knows how we have stumbled and fallen; who sees when we have got it wrong, hurting ourselves and hurting those around us.

Yet knowing all this He still loves us, with a love greater than we could ever imagine; a love that never runs out, a love that we can never outrun. He is a Father who sees us; a Father who knows us; a Father who is with us.

He is a Father who is closer than our next breath; who is more intimate than the next beat of our hearts; who sees His children; who knows what they face; who knows what they carry, all because He has bound Himself to us with a never-ending, never-failing, never giving up, never running dry love.


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