You know what just makes me cry as soon as I see it? Those commercials where service members who are fathers surprise their kids when they come back from war. The kids are so happy and excited. Both the 2 legged and 4 legged variety. In one commercial, a man in fatigues crouches down to the level of this 4 year old. The little one throws herself into his arms and says, “Ohhh, daddy.”
Daddy. Dad. Father. Pa. Papa. They are known by many words in every society.
Where mothers are the everyday rudders, we look to for direction, fathers sometimes can seem larger than life. To a son he can be a role model.
For a daughter, Daddy can be her first boyfriend. The one she measures all others against.
There are many fathers in the bible.
Good men who were after God’s own heart. They are considered righteous. And yet each one fails his children in some way.
Adam the first father, who had no role model before him, no example to follow. He clearly is not aware of the feud between his two sons that gets out of control.
Lot was given the chance to leave Sodom and Gomorrah before they were swept away. He is saved by God. He was a decent guy. Where was Lot’s sense of decency when his daughters get him drunk and he gets them pregnant?
Abraham was a father to an entire nation. But tossed out Hagar and his son Ishmael into the desert.
David was said to be a man after God’s own heart. God blessed him. Where was David when his son Amnon raped his daughter Tamar? Absalom, another son of David, is the one to mete out punishment to his brother.
All these despicable acts perpetrated or at the very least, not stopped by the righteous fathers, against their children. Yet all were considered men who loved God, and whom God loved as well. God even considered a few friends.
How? What made this possible?
It was grace that saved them. That didn’t mean they didn’t have to deal with the consequences of their actions or inactions. As we all must. Grace and justice go hand in hand with God.
Father’s Day is a celebration of dads. Of tough ones and gentle ones. Tall ones and short ones. Fat ones and skinny ones. Fathers with long hair, fathers with bald heads or dreadlocks. Woman who are father figures. Young fathers. Old fathers. Men who are like fathers to those without. First time and second time fathers. It is a celebration of fathers who get it right and all of them that get it wrong sometimes.
Let us pray continued grace for all of them. Amen.