Life Notes—June 16, 2011
Sometimes at night, I’d lie awake, longing inside for my father’s embrace;
And sometimes at night I’d wander downstairs, pray he’d returned, but no one was there.
Oh, how I’d cry, a child all alone, waiting for him to come home…
Excerpts from My Father’s Chair by David Meece
This Sunday is Father’s Day. Many will celebrate the positive role their fathers have played in their lives—fortunate children who have or had fathers who coached sports, took them camping and sat in the stands and cheered many mediocre performances. Some fathers continue to pass along the vital wisdom gained through years of experience, observation and introspection. Many fathers have provided a loving rock for their children to build strong lives upon. And for this we celebrate.
Unfortunately, the word “father” brings unspeakable pain to others because of men who gave in to human frailties and were abusive, absent or apathetic. Many of these wounded souls have understandable difficulty with God being called “Father.” Many struggle with references that seem to portray God as a man. After all, we were created male and female in God’s image, so God embodies at least the essence of everything male and female. Indeed, the Father of the Bible displays the entire spectrum of qualities we consider masculine and feminine. And all people display a unique mix of both sets of traits. Are our expectations for a father too high? Actually, they may be too low.
The song lyrics above were written by a man whose father was an abusive alcoholic. There is a father-shaped hole in many lives and until a father-shaped filling is found, lives are simply not complete. Of course for some, it’s more of a mother-shaped hole, but abuse, absence and apathy are never of God. God may be mysterious and unpredictable at times, but never cruel or uninvolved. There is always a purpose to the pain God allows. My father taught me to ride a bicycle knowing I would fall; but he was there to pick me up, clean my scraps, dry my tears and get me back on the bike. He knew pain is sometimes essential for growth. Once we fit God into the parent-sized hole in our lives, we begin walking with and working beside God as purposeful children of God. In thegardenofGethsemane, on the night before he was crucified, Jesus called God “Abba,” sometimes translated as “daddy.” It is an endearing term for a father we feel very close to. I believe that is what God wants from us–closeness. The perfect parent who has loved us through every phase of our life is never more than a prayer away.
This Sunday Mitch’s sermon downtown is “According To Our Likeness,” based on Genesis 1:1-2:4a. Life worship is at 9:40 in Brady Hall. Traditional worship is at 8:30 and 11:00 in the sanctuary. Tom‘s sermon at the west campus is “The Prodigal Father,” based on Luke 15:11-24. Contemporary worship at the west campus is at 9:00 and 11:00.
Come home to church this Sunday. Now, who’s your daddy?
Greg Hildenbrand, Life Music Coordinator