Father's Day. We express our appreciation for our fathers, or father figures in our life. It all began with Sonora Smart Dodd, and her father, William Jackson Smart, a single parent, Civil War veteran who reared his six children alone. Sonora heard a sermon about Anna Jarvis (the inspiration for Mother's Day) and she felt dad's deserved their day too. However it wasn't until 1972 that Father's Day became an official holiday in the U.S.
As Christians, Jesus calls us to emulate the traits of our Heavenly Father (his "Abba" -- daddy). "Father" appears over 300 times in the New Testament, and was one of the key ways Jesus described his and our relationship with God. God the Father is merciful, compassionate, attentive to the needs of the least among us. We are to love our neighbor as much as the Father loves the Son: "I give you a new commandment—love one another just as 1 love you" (Jn. 13:34). "As the Father has loved Me, so I have loved you" (Jn. 15:9). Through the practice of this love we are called to be perfect: not perfectionistic, but perfect - whole, complete, finished -- fully ourselves, as God means us to be. The more we walk the path of mercy, compassion, and forgiveness -- act with tolerance, patience and love as did the father in the parable of the prodigal son --the wholer we are, the more complete we are, the closer we are to be who we were created to be.
To accomplish this, we are called to see ourselves, and see our world, (see our earthly dads) , through our Heavenly Father's eyes. The musician Eric Clapton, whose dad was pretty much absent from his life, began to see his father while gazing at his son (before his son's tragic death at the age of 4). It changed his life. It can change ours.
Let us take the time to gaze into someone's eyes, and see in there our Heavenly Father. Let us also see in there the invitation to walk the path of spiritual wholeness, completeness and perfection.
Happy (Heavenly) Father's Day!
Listen to: Eric Clapton, "My Father's Eyes"
Same title, different song:
Amy Grant, "My Father's Eyes"
PRAY: "Heavenly Father, help me see the world through your eyes of unconditional love. Help me walk the path of perfection."