Bulletin Article, Ordinary Time Sunday 12C
The older I get, the more I realize how much I’ve become like my father. My dad and I are both calm and easy-going most of the time, and we are men of few words. My dad has spent most of his life doing maintenance on appliances, vehicles, lawns, and lots of other things, and while I haven’t exactly done the same, I’ve always enjoyed tinkering. I remember that when I was starting college, in one of my classes we did introductions. We were supposed to give our names and something interesting about ourselves. And when it was my turn, I couldn’t think of anything interesting, so I said that I like to fix things.
In the Book of Genesis, the original vocation given to Man (the name ‘Adam’ in Hebrew is identical to their generic term for ‘human being’ or ‘man’) was “to cultivate and care for” God’s creation (Genesis 2:15). God placed Adam as the head of maintenance for the Garden of Eden. He was to imitate God’s fatherhood and providence by working to enhance, maintain, and restore the beauty of the garden. Anyone who has tried to keep a garden knows how much work it can be to keep it weeded, watered, fertilized, and pest free.
This work of maintenance is a cooperation with God’s own ongoing work of creation and redemption, keeping and bringing things back into working order, into harmony with the design of the Creator. When Jesus was criticized for healing on the Sabbath, he replied, “My Father is at work until now, so I am at work” (John 5:17). God did not set the world in motion just to leave it to its own devices, but as a loving Father, he is constantly at work to keep his creation on course to its final goal and to draw us back to himself.
This Sunday, we give thanks to God for all the ways that our dads have given us life, love, and good example, for how they have imitated God’s own work of creation and ongoing providence in the world. We also intercede for them and ask God’s forgiveness for the ways that they fall short, as we all fall short, of the high ideal to “be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). My dad expresses his love for his children more through his actions than through many words, and this is probably typical of fathers in general, but I hope you’ll take this Father’s Day as an opportunity to express in word and in deed your gratitude for your own father and all that he has been for you over the years.
“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that he may grant you in accord with the riches of his glory to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner self, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith” (Ephesians 3:14-17).
Happy Father’s Day.