Fathers

Why celebrate Father’s Day, especially in this world where so many families are split? Life experience has taught me much about Dad’s role in the family.
When Dad spends time with his children, they feel loved.
What Dad thinks about something is important.
What Dad does is to be copied.
Even when Dad is supercritical, uninterested, abusive, rejecting, his children continue to hope, to want Dad to care for them, to love them. Social scientists tell us that all too often children grow up to be just like their father. We celebrate Father’s Day because Dads are important.
Some Dads leave the responsibility for faith nurture to Mom. In my work, I have visited many couples to talk about their child’s baptism. All too often Dad would say, “I’m not much for religion. Oh, I believe in God, but the church stuff, that’s my wife’s territory. Talk to her about that.” Dad may not actively work against Mom’s efforts to teach the Christian faith to their children, he is just absent – absent from church on Sunday’s, absent from any discussion of faith. I am never surprised when the child chooses to copy Dad, and turn away from the church or any other visible practice of faith.
We need to remember that Dad’s are an integral part of the family team, whether or not parents are living together. Celebrating “Father” is extremely important. Dad needs to be affirmed in the positive role he can be for his children. Fathers need encouragement and praise. Like Mothers, Dad’s play a pivotal role in their children’s lives.
On Father’s Day and throughout the year, pray for the Dads you know and those you don’t know. Prayer is not magic, but the love you offer will make a difference.

“Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.”
(Proverbs 1:8)

Sleep

I woke up one morning feeling rested. Wow, I feel good, I thought. I looked at the clock – 6:30 a.m. My body had enjoyed seven and a half hours of rest. I could feel a thank you rising up from within me. What was unusual about this?
I may not be frugal with my money, but I am frugal with my sleep. I seldom am tucked in bed by eleven. Oh, I know I need sleep. It’s just that I usually have stuff to do every evening. When I finally say, that’s enough, I’m not ready to sleep. After my busy day, I deserve some relaxation time, so I surf the net, or play a game, or read. Suddenly it’s midnight or one a.m. Just a few more minutes, I say to myself. I’ll check my emails. Another hour passes.
Science tells me that when my body has sufficient rest, my mind is more alert. In fact, it’s easier to control my weight when I regularly get enough sleep.
Our Bible contains wisdom for living in relationship with self, with others and with God. Sometimes we leave ourselves out of the equation. St. Paul said that our bodies are God’s temples. As such, we need to experience sufficient sleep, maintain a healthy diet, and enjoy regular exercise. We’re not caring for God’s temple if we’re always exhausted. When we value everything and everyone more than ourselves, we can easily ignore our need for sleep. Caring for others, spreading the Good News, doing God’s will is easier when we’re rested. Best of all, sufficient rest means we can serve with a joyful heart, because sleep lifts our spirits. Shakespeare said, “Sleep precious sleep that knits the raveled sleeve of care.”

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. (I Corinthians 6:19-20)

A Great Conversation Starter

Making small talk with strangers is not easy for many of us. When a young adult, the question, “What do you do for a living?” served me very well as a conversation starter. After my ordination to ministry, a problem developed when my question was turned back to me. As a single woman on the dance floor, I would answer, “I’m a United Church Minister.” Conversation stopped altogether. Not only could I see the expression on my dance partner’s face, I could feel his body stiffen, as he pushed me out to arm’s length. As soon as the song ended, he would politely return me to my seat. The judgment was made.

Countless times, I have heard, “You don’t act like a minister. You’re fun. You dance. You’re a regular person. It’s not just ministers/pastors who are judged. If we claim that we go to church regularly, eyes glaze over. We know they’re thinking, “Oh yes. You’re one of those.” Jesus ran into a similar problem. People said to him, “You can’t be a religious person. You have the wrong friends. You have too much fun. You forgive people…

I’ve been ordained for 22 years now, and one thing I’ve learned. When people step past their initial reaction, whatever it is, claiming my faith commitment opens doors. It’s almost as if the person has been waiting to have a conversation deeper than the weather, sports or the current reality show. When I have the courage to claim who I am, and the ability to relax and accept whatever reaction that entails, I often make a new friend, have an opportunity to increase understanding, and sometimes even to share my faith in God. Try it, you will be amazed.

“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord…” 2 Timothy 1:7-8