St Alban’s Episcopal Church
Friday, June 17, 2022 Father’s Day and Fathers’ Day
Father’s Day/Fathers’ Day
I hope many of you will be celebrating the great dads among us – or the memories of your own good fathers. Did you ever wonder about the punctuation for the name of this holiday? It is modeled after Mother’s Day which preceded it by a few years. The founder of Mother’s Day had specifically asked that it be punctuated in that way. Her intent was that each individual mother be celebrated, not the idea of motherhood or mothers in masse. So Father’s Day was similarly punctuated, and the idea is to celebrate each father. I hope you are able to do that. But what if you can’t? What if you have no good memories of an abusive, difficult, or absent dad? Then it actually does help to remember the idea of “father,” if you are a Christian. When the Bible uses the metaphor of “father” it refers to the idea that God not only creates us, but claims us, names us, cherishes us as his own. Before the widespread use of DNA, it was impossible to know for certain who was a child’s father. The mother was always knowable. But not the dad. When Jesus invites us to call God, our “Father” it means that God has chosen to claim us, to take responsibility for us, to be faithful to us, and to give us an inheritance with Jesus. We misunderstand the language if we think it is anti-feminine. It isn’t. It celebrates a deliberate, unforced, unforce-able, choice by God to make it clear that humans are God’s own, and beloved, in God’s own image: God’s children. It was considered blasphemy for Jesus to call God, “father,” remember? And when he told us we could also name God, “father,” it was a remarkable and daring idea almost beyond the imagining of Jesus’ contemporaries. But “that is what we are, children of God, and heirs according to the promise.” And every good human father is more or less like God: participates in, and models God’s father hood in human terms. And the best ones model it for everybody, not just their own children.
And so it is also appropriate to remember Fathers’ Day, in honor of every good man, whether a biological or adoptive father or not. Any man who loves others freely, voluntarily, at work or in the community as God loves, who chooses to demonstrate steadfast love and is faithful when he doesn’t need to be, is a father as God is…and should be celebrated this weekend. It is Fathers’ Day as much as Father’s Day!
Mother Emanuel AME Church June 17, 2015
Clementa C Pinckney, Cynthia Marie Graham Hurd, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lee Lance, De Payne Middleton-Doctor, Tywanza Sanders, Daniel Lee Simmons, Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, and Myra Thompson were murdered by a self-professed white supremacist while they were gathered for Bible study and prayer at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Racism has not diminished, let alone been abolished since then. We do ourselves no favors to pretend that it has. The whole Church is encouraged to reaffirm our commitment to the work of anti-racism, to erase any support of white supremacy within the church, within our civil society nd within ourselves.
St Stephens Episcopal Church, Vestavia Hills, Alabama – June 16, 2022
Three elderly parishioners, members of St Stephens were at a potluck dinner when another individual, an occasional church attender, entered, pulled out a hand gun and killed them. The dead are 84 year old Walter Rainey, 75 year old Sarah Yeager, and an 84 year old female whose family asked that her name not be released. The 71 yr old gunman’s name is not yet public, but the priest’s wife said he attended most Sundays, but sat alone in the back and didn’t interact with others. We do not yet know what motive he may have had, but he was subdued by other parishioners, and has been arrested. But look. Every bad guy with a gun was a good guy with a gun before he took it out and began to kill other people. He wasn’t a teenager. He didn’t even have an AR-15. But he did have a gun he was legally allowed to carry, loaded and concealed. We have got to do better. And we have got to demand that legislators to do better, too.