This Sunday is Father’s Day. Apparently, the first Father’s Day celebration was on June 17, 1910. It was proclaimed in the small American town of Spokane. This annual celebration spread, until 1966 when President Lyndon Johnson issued a proclamation, designating the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day. Father’s Day is now commonly celebrated in many countries around the world.
It’s appropriate to give thanks for our fathers, for their care, love, provision, and protection. Hopefully today there is the opportunity for the family meal, the handmade card, or the overseas phone call.
Of course, this day is also not easy for many of us. It brings to mind fathers who are no longer with us and are dearly missed, or difficult relationships with our fathers.
Sometimes we have a tendency to project our concept of fatherhood on our Heavenly Father. This does present problems, because our earthly fathers aren’t perfect. All of our fathers have significant shortcomings—even on their best days. However, as we get to know the Heavenly Father spoken about in the Bible, we see the father who always understands, always knows our needs, always provides, always comes through on his promises, and is always gracious and compassionate. This Heavenly Father has given us his only beloved Son and calls us to be his children. The Apostle John says, ”See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” (1 John 3:1).
As we think about Father’s Day, here are two brief thoughts on how we can support fathers.
First, pray for them. Our fathers are imperfect. They can’t read our minds and often misunderstand us. They get tired and irritated, their patience has limits. Our fathers are working out how to be good fathers. There’s no school on “how to dad”, so we have to work things out, often by trial and error. And fathers, like all people, are broken people. We sin. Often that sin will be shown in our parenting. Therefore, fathers need prayer. Of course, when we stop to pray for our fathers, we also think about our fathers’ situation and their needs. This builds our own empathy of their situation.
Second, fathers need to spend time together. This is a generalisation: men don’t make relationships with one another as easily as women do. Men are more guarded, more individualistic, more proud, slower to ask for help. Men need to build friendships with other men so that they can get the support they need to be better men (and fathers). This takes time, intentionality, perseverance, and common interests (to create bonds and “break the ice”). One of my greatest hopes at St Andrew’s is to build a thriving men’s ministry: opportunities for men to enjoy friendship, to learn and pray together, and to support one another in being better followers of Jesus. We have a great men’s fellowship on Thursday evenings. If you want to find out more, contact email@example.com.