As my Facebook feed starts to fill up with Father’s Day messages, posts, memes and the like, a message of my own:
This Father’s Day, please don’t preach about all the wonderful Godly fathers out there and praise and acknowledge them. Having a Godly, life-affirming, confidence-building, loving, supportive, or even living father is not part of all of your congregants’ reality. To those of us whom this scenario isn’t our truth, such messages serve as a trigger to remind us of what we did not/do not have.
Having a living child to be a father to is not every father’s reality either.
This Father’s Day, get real. First, recognize the fatherless. Second, agree that sometimes, fathers suck. Everywhere we turn, we are reminded, thanks to the retailers who bombard us with advertising, about Father’s Day. This can be a trigger for some of us. Acknowledge the many, many children who grew up never knowing their father, whose father abandoned them, whose father abused them, whose father was completely absent from their life as children – either through abandonment, addiction, death, etc.
There will be times when hearing the words “God is father to the fatherless” and “God is your father” will not bring comfort to those who never had a father. Acknowledge this.
Mention those who have lost their children. Losing a child means being a father in spirit only. Grief fills their heart every anniversary, Father’s day, Mother’s day, Christmas, special event, their child’s birthday, etc.
This Father’s Day, I won’t be going to church. I don’t have much hope that the sermon will change.
But, maybe someday the messages will, church: because it’s high time they did.