Pastors have the privilege and pressure of preaching most Sundays, and the ones that handle this most effectively have a plan in place. It keeps you from waking up on Monday morning and saying “what now?” because finding the passage to go with is the most time consuming part of sermon preparation.
Getting ready for holidays in particular poses a great challenge. People come expecting to hear something related to the day or weekend emphasis, i.e. Memorial Day, Independence Day. The two days that can be particularly difficult are the ones set aside to honor Moms and Dads. These two days bring about a wide range of emotion, ranging from appreciation and love for one’s parents, or indifference and disappointment at the loss of not having what other people are raving about. There’s also the risk of elevating into sainthood those women and men in our lives who have done extraordinary things through their care for their children, while trying to recognize the deep sense of failure some adults have at not being a good father, mother, provider, or caregiver. It’s a challenge to be inclusive in the proclamation and give something for everyone to take home with them.
I deal with this reality a little more on Father’s Day. It seems like most people have a better and closer relationship with their moms. I have laughingly remarked that after Easter, Mother’s Day is the best attended day of church in the year. Children will go to church because their mom wants them to be there with them, regardless of their ages and regardless of their previous record of attendance. And in the pre-cell phone days, you could count on more “collect phone calls” to dad on Father’s Day than any other day of the year which means he would have to pay to receive the call (Moms just got more phone calls on their day).
Father’s Day doesn’t get the hype that Mother’s Day does. One reason has to be the reality as well as the perception of men in our society. Even though not everyone has had a good relationship with his dad, it doesn’t mean we ought not give attention to the value of the men who have impacted our lives whether they are our biological father or a “spiritual father”. There is a difference between fathering a child and being her dad, and for all the men who do this in a caring, loving way I salute you. I would also note that there are men who do not have biological children but show concern and guidance through their role as teachers, mentors, and coaches.
On this day in particular, I give thanks for my own family and the time we have together. Lori and I are doing our best to keep up with the growth and schedules of our three. Cally is 13, Lucy is 8, and Matt is 6, and we are proud of all of them.