The set readings from Proper 7 of the lectionary don’t exactly chime with Father’s Day. But if you don’t want to be sniffy about this modern celebration, here’s my attempt to draw something out of them that might speak to fatherhood and fathering today.
It’s Fathers’ Day. So three cheers today, and as many treats and hugs as the lockdown allows, for everyone who has shown a fatherly care for us, and reflected the love of our Father in heaven. Dads yes, hooray for them (I speak with self-interest!), but also uncles, mothers, vicars, carers, siblings, teachers, neighbours. None of them will have been perfect of course, certainly not me – fathering is not easy whether like me you were brought up rather traditionally and feel the pressure of being the Great Breadwinner and all the rest, or whether like our sons you are trying to navigate good but new and sometimes difficult ways of blending our family roles. And some father-figures will have turned from Christ’s way of love and hurt us instead. But many will have blessed us and so today we can in Christ’s name say an Alleluia and a Thankyou for that.
So far so good – but where’s all that in the bible readings and prayers set for today? Nowhere of course. As far as the church is concerned, it’s the Second Sunday after Trinity, and Father’s Day just doesn’t feature. So what we have in the readings rather jars with our theme.