Dear Risen Lord disciples:
I enjoyed a particularly wonderful Father’s Day weekend this year – from a Cubs game with my 91 years young Dad to a BBQ dinner with my son and his girlfriend, along with a virtual visit from my daughter in Washington. To be honest, however, my enjoyment was significantly heightened by seeing a timely post from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s page. It was a welcome reminder for me to be truly present in the moment and open my eyes and my heart to the simple and singular gift at the core of the weekend itself: the relationships themselves.
I don’t know about you, but I’m often susceptible to the temptation to take things in my life for granted. It happened less during my ministry; after all, as a pastor a large part of my daily life was spent with folks experiencing struggles, pain, and hardships that few others were aware of. Given intimate access to that reality, it was a constant reminder to me that these things could easily and unexpectedly be so in my own life. It helped me to see and treasure simple things in my life, as well as truly see and have a heart for other’s lives. I confess in retirement it’s been easier to both think less of others as well as take things for granted.
I wonder if this has also been true for many of us during this long pandemic. Hunkered down and isolated, we literally lose sight of the reality in other’s lives and can so easily begin to focus on our own problems and worries. The life-giving practices of compassion and gratitude are weakened.
That’s why I was so struck by the ELCA post – it was simply a brief prayer for Father’s Day, with a short introductory invitation. The intro and the prayer transformed the way I experienced the weekend, and it continues to open my eyes in new ways this week. I offer it to you in the hopes it will help you, long after this holiday, to see both your life and others through the lens of God’s love. Here it is:
On Father’s Day, we pray for those who are fathers or wish to be fathers, for those with broken or strained relationships, for those who are missing their fathers, and for fathers who have lost children. We rejoice in God’s enduring love for all people.
Gracious God, on this Father’s Day
we’re especially thankful for the
fathers and father figures in our lives.
Hold them in your good care.
Give them patience, wisdom and
strength, that through them their
families may experience your
Bless those who long to be fathers and
those for whom this day is difficult.
Be well, friends. You are loved.
Pastor Dave Schreiber