Monday, June 19, 2017

Fathers and Faith

 Compared to Mother's Day, Father's Day gets short shrift in the Presbyterian Church in Canada.  In the secular world retailers are keen to capitalise on any occasion to boost sales, but the real heart-rending advertising usually focuses on mothers, while dads are portrayed as needing a new lawnmower or a tie.  
    The trend toward inclusive language has also been hard on the word father in our liturgy.

    But on this day, father's get the spotlight.  The NIV Bible uses the word father 692 times in the Old Testament and 390 times in the New.  The basis of our faith reminds us over and over that God is our Heavenly Father, the one to whom we look for protection, provision, compassion, judgement, discipline, mercy and unfailing love.

     One of our choir anthems includes the lines:
And for those special moments, those times when we recall
A father’s guiding presence, a mother’s gentle call,
The laughter and the singing, the teaching of your way,
The quiet times together that taught us how to pray.

A reminder of the importance of father's in family life.

     Hymn writers too pay homage to God, the Father.  One of my favourites is This Is My Father's World.  Perhaps because I grew up in the country the images of rustling grass, carolling birds, lily white, rocks and trees, skies and seas, resonate deep in my soul. This hymn is a wonderful hymn of praise to the Creator Father.

Another of my choices is Dear Lord and Father of Mankind. The first verse speaks to our need to repent, but the following lines assure us of God, the Father as our refuge in a turbulent world.  One of the great blessings of my life was "home."  Without question, if life got too hard, I could go home and be enfolded in the love and security and acceptance of family.  This hymn promises that all people, regardless of their earthly family, have this same, safe refuge with our Father in Heaven.

One last example from my personal favourites is Great is Thy Faithfulness.  Here we are reminded of the steadfastness of our Father.  He "changest not." His compassion never fails.  Through all the seasons of life He offers His presence to "to cheer and to guide."  All our needs are taken care of by our Father's provision.

    To all the fathers out there, some with a new tie, blessings on you and may you remember that you have a perfect role model described in the pages of the Bible, in the poetry of hymns and in the love that surrounds you and keeps you in His care forever and ever.


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