Honoring the Good Fathers –
Romans 2: 10 but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good…
Father’s Day at my church, with very few exceptions consistently has a historically low attendance. It seems to me that many our members and worshipers have a wide ambivalence in their attitudes towards their fathers. Yes, there are several who are proud of their fathers and think the world of them. At both worship services, I invited worshipers to stand up before the congregation and give tributes to their fathers, regardless if they are alive or deceased. The testimonials were exceptional and quite moving. Following the 11 AM worship service, our Men’s Ministry sponsored a Father’s Day Luncheon where dads could attend at no charge. Again, there were a series of testimonials that lasted two hours! So, a lot of people who were in church Sunday feel good about their fathers.
Sadly, not everyone feels good about their father. I heard an interview with the rapper, Jaz-y, where he said his father left his family when he was nine years of age. He also said that most of the children he grew up with did not have a father in the home. We have some of that in my church. Although, several persons in attendance yesterday talked about the love care and devotion that their fathers showered upon them. One fellow, Charles Harvey, stood up in church and talked about how wonderful his father was to him and that as a child, he assumed that every child had the same experience. Charles said that all the children who lived on his street had a father in the home. Charles is 50 something years old.
In my community, there are several persons who have mixed feelings about their father. The rate of divorce is around 50 percent for first marriages. I do not believe children are as “Resilient” as many parents of divorce would like us to believe. So many of my son’s friends and classmates were from homes where the parents had divorced, they told Denise and I that they were sure that divorce was the number one cause for the confusion, bitterness and crazy behavior that they witnessed in their generation. Yet, at the same time, I believe each of us wants to believe that our mothers and fathers love us and try to be good parents. So, there seems to be a degree of tension in our attitudes towards our fathers. When divorce occurs, it is often the dad who leaves the house.
But, this Father’s Day, we had several people who had a lot of good things to say about their fathers. One example of this is the young women in the photo at the top of this piece. They are members of the Victoria and Malcom Barnes Family. One by one, the women talked about what a great father, their father, Malcom Barnes is. Kristyn Barnes talked about how encouraging her father was in keeping her focused and motivated in finishing her Ph.D. degree in education. Ashlee Barnes shared a story I had not remembered hearing – that her dad and mother allowed her to opt out of traditional high school with home-schooling, and she graduated on time. Ashlee has obtained an undergraduate and master’s degree in nursing. I did not hear each of the girls remarks because I was moving around taking photos of them and the gathering of 70 persons who showed up for the luncheon.
The point I am making is that not every black father is a jerk, absent, violent, and a bad actor. There are many good fathers in our community who deserve the glory, honor and praise.
Questions for Reflection:
- How do you feel about your father?
- What does the Bible tell you about love and fatherhood?
Prayer: Lord, teach me to honor and respect my father. I thank you for the good times. I thank you for the tough times. I thank you for the best in what I have seen and learned from my father. I thank you for the life my father has provided me. Teach me to love. Teach me to be kind. Teach me to live a life of commitment. Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior I pray. Amen.
Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III
Photo by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III
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