I only ever recall meeting my father twice. The third occasion I was in his company was at his funeral.
The Church of England is making a bid to put God into Fathers’ Day with a prayer for children to include in their cards today.The Bishop of Worcester, the Rt Rev John Inge, said, “Let’s celebrate Fathers’ Day in our churches, honouring those fathers who have shown us something of God’s love, praying for fathers to be given strength in their crucial role and remembering that God, who is our Father in heaven, loves us more than we can grasp.”
Children ‘lost for words’ this Fathers’ Day are encouraged to paste or write in their cards a prayer specially written for the occasion, thanking dads for their love and support and asking God to support and guide them. “I have always believed in my head,” said Bishop John, “that God loves me unconditionally but it was only when I became a father myself that I began to understand it with my heart.”
The prayer is backed up by a new page on http://www.cofe.anglican.org with more prayer material. Churches are offered: a sample service to customise for Fathers’ Day; a podcast in which Bishop John explains how becoming a father gave him a new understanding of God’s unconditional love; and a link provides a gateway to the WhatDadsAdd website created by the Church or England and the Mothers’ Union. “I have never known a love quite like the love of being a father and I rejoice in the great gift of fatherhood,” said Bishop John Inge. “I rejoice in it because of my children, to whom I am devoted. But I also rejoice in it because it helps me to understand more profoundly how God loves me, and how nothing can separate me from that love.”
I didn’t really know my natural father but am grateful for the love of a father God. I echo this prayer this Fathers’ day and hope my children will pray it for me, and that they will have a more positive memory of me than I have of my own father. Thanks to Bishop John for reminding us of the role of fathers on this special day.
I thank God for all the love and support you offer me, and I ask for God’s blessing on you this Father’s day: may God our heavenly Father keep you in his care, support and guide you each day and help you grow in love and wisdom. through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.