Beloved in Christ,
“Grads and Dads” is always a saying in the month of June. High School and College graduations usually take place in June. And Father’s Day this year lands on June 19th. High School graduations are usually called “Commencement Exercises.” To commence actually means to start something: to begin something. So even though seniors are ending their high school education years, they are just commencing: just beginning the rest of their lives.
Commencement is always happening in Jesus’ church as well. This year Pentecost Sunday falls on June 5th. Fifty days after his resurrection, the promised Holy Spirit is poured out on the followers of Jesus. Though the disciples are all Galileans, people from all over the known world, who spoke many different languages can now hear and understand the mighty acts of God. We often call Pentecost the birthday of the church. The early church really commences: really begins when the Holy Spirit empowers Jesus’ followers to show and tell his love and good news of salvation. The Holy Spirit is always commencing something in us to show and tell the love of Jesus.
As a father, truly one of the biggest joys of my life was and is to be a father to Steven and Kyle. All of us earthly fathers are imperfect people and I realize that some of you had/have good fathers and some do not. But as Christians we all have the best Heavenly Father ever in our loving God. The Bible speaks often of God as our loving Father. Now certainly God is not exclusively male. There are also a number of tender mothering images of God in the Bible.
This favorite old hymn seems to run through my little brain when thinking of Father’s Day and of God as our loving Father. “Children of the heavenly Father, safely in his bosom gather; nestling bird nor star in heaven such a refuge e’er was given.” Interesting isn’t it that we gather in the BOSOM of our heavenly Father! That’s a fairly maternal image! God is neither male nor female, or perhaps the best of both. We could call God our “loving Parent,” but that doesn’t quite cut it. Certainly God is like the best Father and the best Mother possible.
So during the month of June we celebrate with our graduates. This year five young women of First Lutheran are graduating high school: Kathryn Merten, Hannah Campbell, Lydia Blaisdell, Kassidy Winter and Lydia Becker. And we also celebrate our earthly fathers. God bless you dads as you reflect our Heavenly Father’s love to your children.
Peace in Jesus,