My father didn’t believe in Fathers’ Day. I know; it’s an excuse for retailers to sell us greeting cards, socks, power tools, and pub meals.
But fathers do matter. Think about yours. What’s your fondest memory? What did you learn from him? What do you wish you hadn’t learned? Maybe there was no father in your childhood; a man who lost his father in the second world war often talks about how grateful he is to a friend of the family who did make it back, and undertook to be the father he didn’t have any more.
Maybe you’re a father. What’s been your happiest experience, as a father? What would you do over, if only you had known then what you know now? What advice would you give a young father, approaching the birth of his first child?
Some people approach Fathers’ Day with resentment, because they had an inadequate father, or their relationship is deeply hurtful, or because their beloved father is gone, or because they longed for fatherhood but aren’t, or they are but their experience hasn’t matched the sunny lovely family life in the ads.
I think the strength of our feelings about Fathers’ Day tells us how much that relationship matters. How we long for dads to be reliable, and interested, and caring, and strong, and worthy models. How precious the opportunity to be a father is. How much we long to be a good father.
This weekend in Luke 15:11-32 we take advice from the Father of us all; what can we learn from his approach to fatherhood? And what advice and comfort would he offer those of us who are smarting from our less glorious attempts?