Friday, June 19, 2009

A Father's Day Blog

I'm not going to be preaching this week. I'll be leaving this evening for Cape Cod where Carole and I will spend a wonderful weekend with my three grown children and my two marvelous grandbabies. This will be the first time that I've had all three of my kids in the same place for a while.

Father's Day and Mother's Day always stir in me issues about "God Language," the metaphors and images that we use to talk about God's relationship to us and ours to God. It's a very touchy subject for many; especially those who were abused or neglected by refer to God as Father or Mother can stir up old pains and memories and make it difficult to engage meaningfully with the God who reaches out to us in love.

But we can't escape's all we've got to (well not totally, but for the most part) to express and share with one another how God has touched our lives. And scripture uses the language of relationship to talk about us and God.

God isn't just referred to as "Father" but as a 'nursing mother,' a 'mother giving birth,' and a 'mother teaching her child to walk' name a few of the feminine metaphors for God. God is presented in scripture as the one who nurtures and cares and guides and loves.

But the other truth is that many of us didn't have adequate parents. Some didn't even have loving parents. Some had abusive parents who sought their children's destruction at the worst; or used them for their own emotional, sexual, ego gratification at best.

Some of us had wonderful parents. Parents who, though not perfect, were "good enough" and honestly tried to give us the nurture and care we need. who show'd us that the world was a possible place for us; that we were valued; and whose love sustained us in both success and failure.

Some of our experiences; many of them I imagine, feel somewhere in between.

But Sunday is Father's Day. And as a pastor I want to say to every father who reads this: our responsibility is to live our life with our children in such a way that the idea of "God the Father" isn't a barrier to relationship to God, but a bridge. We need to remember that our children's first picture of God is on our face.

We fail so often to do this adequately-but we can try, and pray, and remember that we as fathers, as mothers, (even as papa).....have this sacred responsability. We are the first expressions of God's love that our children know. Let us represent that love well.

Happy Father's Day and I'll see you next week.

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