This Father’s Day, we gathered in chapel for services as a sand storm blasted the sides of the hard stand building. As we sang and prayed, we heard the winds constantly reminding us of the harshness of this environment. But inside, 80 gathered to celebrate the presence of a heavenly Father
Today, one father prepared in a special way. Today was his baptism day! As he knelt, I was overcome with the contrast of blessed water in this wilderness and sacred relationship of God’s adoption. His love from which we know no separation.
Presbyterian, Chaplain Lawson and I lead this service together, covering for each other when we travel. Today, we were both in Kuwait sharing this service together. It is a true blessing for me to work with him.
Also a father, Chaplain Lawson preached today from Matthew 4: 18-22. It was not, perhaps, a typical text on Father’s Day but one that resonated deeply with us all. He imagined that moment Jesus called James and John who “immediately” left their nets with their father to follow Jesus. In a context of a family trade and dependency on each other, the silent acceptance of the father, Zebedee, spoke volumes. Likewise the acceptance of a calling James and John had no preparation for, spoke volumes. It is a text with so much unsaid, but felt. As Chaplain Lawson reflected, “Sometimes, God calls you to drop the nets. Sometimes, God calls you to stay in the boat. Neither is easy and calling always requires sacrifice both for those who go and those who stay.” I couldn’t help but think of all the “nets” Richard is managing as a father while I am deployed forward- a feeling echoed with tears by all in the room.
In this community, we experience the strength of shared burdens. But also, the vision of God.
My chapel prayer this Father’s Day:
“Our Father, holy is Your name. Rock of Salvation, the righteous run to You and are protected. Creator, You breathe life to the dust, establish order from chaos, speak light into darkness. Father of lights, with whom there is not variation or shadow due to change, You are the One from whom all things are and for whom, we exist.
You make Your sun rise on the evil and on the good, and send rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. You are a Father who sees in secrete and rewards righteousness. You judge all people impartially, according to their deeds. You welcome the prodigal. You forgive our trespasses. You teach us to be perfect, as you, our Heavenly Father are perfect. You are above all, and through all, and in all. No one knows the day or the hour of your coming, neither the angles in heaven, nor the Son, but only You, the Father.
ABBA, Daddy, You are the Father of orphans and protector of widows. You have compassion for your children and for those who respect your name. You reprove the one you love. You delight in your children. You enable us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. You call us. You call us beloved.
And we, Your children who received a spirit of adoption, we cry, “ABBA! Father!”