Happy Fathers Day!
During this week’s Sunday morning Facebook-scroll I noticed that quite a few of my friends had posted messages to the effect of, ‘A non-Happy Father’s Day to the father who abandoned me and left me to figure out life on my own,’ and ‘I can’t say Happy Father’s Day to anyone because I never had one… Today brings me a lot of painful memories.’
I can’t quote the posts verbatim, not just out of respect to their authors but also because I’m Christian, and some of the language was not. They saddened me. I can’t personally identify with them, because my dad is still married to my mum, and loves her and me. I thank God every day for this increasingly rare blessing. But I did heavily empathize, and I just wanted to hug all of my hurting friends.
This made me reflect on what ‘fatherhood’ actually is. Any man can be a father, as they say, but it takes someone special to be a dad. The reason we know this is because God showed man how to do it. Some follow His example, and some don’t. And for the children of those who don’t, we can at least be at peace with the knowledge that to have a relationship with God means to have a relationship with the perfect dad – the one who set the benchmark for fatherhood.
This week at Realife we honoured all of the men: future fathers, current fathers, almost-fathers and grandfathers. God is the ultimate Father, so the opportunity to pay tribute was not one to be passed over.
One the first things you will have seen when you walked through the big front doors might have been a ‘Dads, you are loved’ message on the wall of the storeroom. Fathers need to hear this as often as mothers and children do. If you were a dad, you may have received a free coffee – what better method to show love! Surrounding this was a collage of the drawings our Real Kids did; a burst of colour and cuteness.
The stage was decked out in a few manly decorations: a ladder, work boots, chainsaw, golf clubs, and such. It’s amazing how visual art and décor can contribute to the atmosphere of a room, and the few additions that the creative art team made did so perfectly: it was an atmosphere of strength, hard work and support, which are traits I definitely associate with my dad.
Worship was just as powerful and inspiring as it always is. We introduced a new song, which always brings a fresh breeze into the winds of worship.
The lyrics of the new song fit really well with the day, I think. The chorus ran:
“And all I know is
Everything I have means nothing,
Jesus, if You’re not my one thing,
Everything I need right now…”
(Hillsong, One Thing)
How encouraging for those who might feel a void in their life because of a lack of a physical father. God is everything you need right now. He is literally the best dad ever.
Mr Josh Gullo himself, the worship leader of the week, was also celebrating his first official Father’s Day! How perfect!
Then, the dad of our church, Ps. E., gave a very practical and encouraging word (available for download [here]) this week. In it, he outlined his own flaws and strengths in his fatherhood journey, and passed on his own humble wisdom in a ‘don’t do what I did’ kind of way. Our church is currently in a season of new marriages and new babies, so the timing of his advice was perfect. I saw many of the younger men taking copious notes.
Happy Fathers Day! We hope your afternoon was wonderful and caused the men in your life to witness the love they deserve.
Have a blessed week,
Emma J. Ware