Life Notes—June 17, 2010
“Then God said, ‘Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness…’ So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them, male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:26a, 27
My father was a funny, out-going man. He was a proud papa and spent a considerable amount of his free time playing with his children. He used to take me to work and brag about me to his co-workers. While I knew I was not as good as he made me out to be, part of me desperately wanted to be that good. My father was a good man, but he was far from perfect. He could quickly lose his temper and was frightening when he did. He had some troubling habits, and he died 4 days shy of his 46th birthday. He was, like all humans, a curious mix of wonderful and less-than-wonderful, fallible and mortal.
This Sunday is Father’s Day. It is a day when some celebrate the presence or memories of fathers, or father-figures, we owe much that is right with us to. It is also a day that brings pain to others because of the dreadful shortcomings of their fathers. It is sad to know there are people who shun church because God is too often referred to in the masculine sense, as ‘Father’ or ‘He.’ The paternal titles dredge up painful memories of the most un-God-like nature—and they stay away. Sad, sad, sad…
Intellectually, most of us know God must be beyond gender: the traditional paternalistic characteristics of protecting and providing, along with the traditional maternalistic qualities of nurturing and caring, all must flow from God. We were all created in God’s image, both male and female. Neither gender has a franchise on either set of the traditional characteristics. Both are required for balanced parenting.
I was on the adult staff of Institute, the Methodist camp for high school youth, in the 1990’s when I had the intense spiritual epiphany that God could fill the hole in my life my father’s death had left so many years before. This Sunday I will sing a song written by a man who also grew up (mostly) fatherless. David Meece’s absent father was an alcoholic and his song, My Father’s Chair, goes from his sad childhood, to his role as a father seeking to do better for his children, to his recognition that the only perfect parent, father or mother, is our God.
So as this Father’s Day approaches, who’s your daddy? There is a God who knows and loves you more than you can imagine, ready and waiting to fill that parental role as no mere mortal can do. We are all children of God. We need only join the family.
Kara’s sermon title this week is “Elijah 1: Great Expectations,” based on the scripture 1 Kings 19:1-15a. Life worship begins at 10:45 in Brady hall. Traditional worship is at 8:30 and 11:00 in the sanctuary. Contemporary worship at the west campus is at 9:30.
Come home to worship this Sunday. Strugglers welcome!
Greg Hildenbrand, Life Music Coordinator