Another Long John Sunday

The day is Father’s Day.  I can’t get the day out of my mind and I am writing this even though I don’t know when the editor will submit this for publication.  The holiday is celebrated all over the country with cards for Dad, gifts from the kids, and maybe a trip to Outback or Red Robin or wherever gluten free items can be found. (We can’t forget about Mom entirely). Everyone wants to celebrate and recognize the man who set a godly example before his children, who was always there when one of the kids needed someone to talk to, or just someone to be there and listen to the heart of a fourth grader whose turtle died. This ideal dad has the rough and strong persona of a lumberjack along with the soft and tenderness of a gentle giant. Even churches recognize dads on Father’s Day.

This past Father’s Day our church gave each father a Long John (the dessert item, not the undergarment) and they were appreciated by all. And so, another successful Father’s Day was celebrated, at least by some. But, some people, they don’t really want to celebrate such a day.  It is a day they would rather bypass.  What! Who would not want to celebrate the man who was instrumental in bringing you into this world? Well, Charlie for one. (Names of course have been altered). Charlie hasn’t seen his dad for the past 5 years. His dad has been living on the streets with no interest in seeing or even hearing from any of his 3 children. When Charlie was born, his father deserted them. Charlie’s dad enjoyed his relationship with alcohol and drugs to a greater degree than time with his family. Charlie has no interest in seeing his father whatsoever.

Mark is another person who has no desire to celebrate Father’s Day. His only memories of his father were the beatings he received after his dad was finished battering his mom.  It took moving into a shelter, filing a court order, and changing his last name before they could have any sense of security.
And then there was Bob. Bob also has no desire to celebrate Father’s Day. It’s not that his dad was an alcoholic or abusive or a deserter.  No, Bob’s dad was a deacon. His father was a leader in the church, he served on the Church Board, and he even sang occasionally in the choir.  Bob’s dad was also an adulterer. For most of his childhood, Bob’s dad had an affair with another woman, and Bob’s mom couldn’t say anything about it. She had to live with the fact that her husband would go out once a week and spend the night with someone else. Her husband threatened her if she told anyone. No, Bob doesn’t have any desire to Celebrate Father’s Day.
I know what you’re thinking: why did you just ruin a perfectly good Father’s Day? Sorry, but we can’t forget about all these children, whether they are women or men.  Each of these hurting individuals are people who God has made in His image, that He gave His Son for, His only Son. These are people that God loves and Jesus loves. There is a verse in Mark 10:14 that says:” Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the Kingdom of God belongs to them.” I know that verse is referring to little children, real children, but I also believe all these individuals are in the same situations as the children that Jesus was not willing to reject or send away. These people are vulnerable, and they need to hear and respond to the Gospel. There are many churches, shelters and counseling centers that are reaching out to these individuals. Pray for them and if God so desires, reach out and volunteer. So go out there and make Father’s Day to remember, a day to love on people who are hurting.  We’ll even supply the Long Johns!

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