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I’ve been reading the Gospel of John. Chapter six is long and involved and demands a bit of careful scrutiny before it yields its powerful truths. But the phrase that set me to thinking was the grousing of the Jews in Jn. 6:42 when they said, “This guy can’t be from heaven! This is Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know!” It was only then I remembered that this Sunday is Father’s Day.
Jesus refers to “the Father” or “My Father” 10 times in this passage. He refers to His Father with the pronoun many more times. Whatever else we can say about the Triune God and the Persons of the Father and Son, we can affirm the infinite importance of this relationship.
They came through the Great Depression and the Great War (neither of which were great in the sense of wonderful, but did suffice to get dad off the farm and out into the world.) Many dads are veterans of the other wars — Korea, Vietnam, Gulf, Iraq, Afghanistan.
So, I ask myself, what can be said about dads that has not already been said? For the most part, they work, they fix things, they drive on long trips, and they may laugh and play — usually at the wrong time.
The dad I knew best I actually didn’t know really well. He likely would not win the “Father of the Year” award. He seemed to be gone a lot, working long hours. He never took me fishing. I can recall maybe one game of catch. And he left me with lots of chores.
But you know what he did for which I am eternally grateful? He filled in the blanks of my life.
He made sure I knew I mattered . . . to him and mom, to the family, and most significantly, to God.
The way Jesus told it, the father saw the boy coming up the road from a long way off and ran to meet him. He had apparently been looking for his son and longing for his return. This boy had never left his heart — forgiveness was his first impulse.
Of course, Jesus was making the point that God is the waiting Father. We dads, who will never get close to being God, can see that forgiveness and love and humility and perseverance and patience and grace and generosity of love will go a long ways toward growing up our kids.
I hope you can celebrate your dad on Father’s Day. Perhaps you can pass it on, filling in a blank or two in someone’s life. I pray you will experience the unconditional love of the Father who is in heaven.