Father’s Day is a difficult day of the year for many people who go to church. Not everyone wants to hear the command and admonition to honour and obey their father. It’s not because they are less spiritual, but because their relationships with their father is a painful memory, rather than a happy one.
In our increasingly fractured society we will have some people who don’t even know their dad and we may have dads who abandoned their children. We will also have those whose Father’s were abusive or who continue to make life painful for their offspring. That’s why some people find it hard to attend church on Father’s Day.
It’s a very emotional day for many. They’ll never tell you why they avoided church. They’ll never tell anyone.
Some families have secrets that have been carefully tucked away for no one to ever discover. Remember the story of David and Bathsheba, which was eventually followed by the one son’s rape of his half-sister in 2 Samuel 11-13? Brother Absalom kept it all a secret while harbouring a murderous rage at his father’s inability to protect Tamar or bring to justice her rapist. Eventually he lashed out. Tamar remained a devastated woman for the rest of her days.
There’s every chance that there are Absaloms and Tamars who will turn up to worship on Father’s day – some who try to hide sin and some who try to hide sadness.
Father’s Day is a great and important opportunity to honour fathers. However, it is also an obstacle that some face as they endeavour to live the Christian life today. Many can be grateful for their dads. Others remember only humiliation or intimidation. In order to Worship properly as a real family we need to remember those whose memories of their fathers are joyful and those with memories they’d rather forget.
Honouring a father who has done dishonourable things can feel impossible. Some people find their emotions getting all stirred up on Father’s Day, and they don’t even know why.
And yet, Father’s Day is the best time to remind us that we can have a relationship with a new Father, even though we might have had a rocky road with our earthly father. It’s a time of hope and healing and fresh starts. On Father’s Day we get to offer some people a relationship with a perfect heavenly Father who does no wrong, whatsoever. That’s the message we have for people who hurt on Father’s Day.