There are many high and holy days in the church. There is Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. There is Holy Week and Easter followed 40 days later by Pentecost. Among the days in the ancient calendar there are other holy days that have lost their power and influence through the centuries.
In the US we have developed two other days that have taken on a holy appeal; one is the greater holy day, Mother's Day, and the other the lesser holy day, Father's Day.
As a pastor I struggle with the concept that the Church has to deal with such Hallmark days. I think the Church did, too, because around Mother's Day we created the Festival of the Christian Home. This allows us to celebrate the wonderful gifts of mothers who are the backbone of the Christian home. But the Church and I have no idea what to do with Father's Day. Well, sometimes it falls just right and becomes Move Sunday, so we don't have time to honor the dads. Often it is the Sunday after Annual Conference, and the pastors are so wiped out that the sermon is short and often times not what it could be. (I speak from my own failures here.) Sometimes we let the Associate preach, and it becomes National Associate Pastor Sunday.
Why do we struggle so with Father's Day? Why is it not in the same running with Mother's Day? Why is the Church having to deal with it anyway; after all Jesus never said, "Remember Father's Day and give golf balls out on that Sunday," did He?
Perhaps, just perhaps, as Christians from our ancient patriarchal times, we view each day as Father's Day. We have the ultimate Father in God who gave us breath and life and who is around every second of every day, and so we take it for granted that all fathers are the same and simply know how much we appreciate them.
But this is not true for all of us. Our earthly fathers may not have measured up to our Heavenly Father, and so we simply want to get through the day. The Church and those in making holy days just let it slip on by.
I realize that God is the ultimate Father and Mother, the Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer, and I like to act the purist on these human-made days and say, "We need to be careful how we celebrate them in the Church." But I'm also a son who loved his father very much, and the day is at times sad for me because I know I probably never said enough "I love you"s to him.
Maybe it is time to grow up and learn that fathers need as much love as mothers. Men are not all that tough and rough. Maybe we extend the Celebration of the Christian Home for a whole month, so mom begins it and dad finishes it out with a bang and work at making it 30 days of holiness. All the while knowing that the Holy God, our heavenly Father and Mother, sets the bar for all parenting.
I don't know. I'm just thinking here,
What a blessing to share in the retirement of Louis Miller on Sunday! Well done, thy good and faithful servant, you have shown us what dedication to call is all about.