This Sunday is Father’s Day, a day to celebrate all men who fill the role of father. Maybe you are having a barbecue or going to a baseball game. Maybe you are visiting a cemetery, if your father is celebrating on the other side of life. Maybe you are making a phone call to a dad who is far away. However you spend it, it is a day to stop and think about what being a father means to you. What better example than God as Father.
Of course, God isn’t just Father. God is lots of things. God is Mother too. God is love. God is the air we breathe. God is good. God is such mystery…mighty, awesome, omni-everything…that it is hard to really put words in describing God except through images. Even St. Augustine of Hippo said, “To reach out a little toward God with the mind is a great blessedness; yet to understand is wholly impossible.” And he wrote a whole book about God! We all have our own images of God.
I think Father’s Day may be hard for those who may not have such a great relationship with their father. Especially for them, God as Father is a wonderful image. God is the Father who will always be loving, will always be listening, will always BE. As Michael Downey in Altogether Gift: A Trinitarian Spirituality says, “God is the life that pours itself forth: constantly, abundantly, excessively, never-to-stop-coming-as-gift.” Now that is a Father who loves.
Remember the story of the Prodigal Son? When the son returns home, the father runs TOWARD him, arms outstretched, as if he were waiting all that time just to welcome him home. That is God as Father. His son had squandered all of his money, lived a less-than-pristine life and probably never wrote home to talk about any of it. The father only reached out in love. That is God.
So Happy Father’s Day to all fathers, and their children who make them so. May we celebrate God as Father, since Father’s Day is also the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity. However you celebrate, know that God as Father is forever reaching out to us in infinite love.
If you are interested in exploring more about your image of God, consider reading Good Goats: Healing Our Image of God by Dennis, Sheila and Matthew Linn. This will be next book group read at our parish. Check the bulletin for details, or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.