17th June 2022

It’s Father’s Day this Sunday, and while some may think of this occasion as one of those made-up events designed to earn money for Hallmark and the like, I for one will be enjoying the opportunity to spend some quality time with my dad. Dad remains the rock on which the family stands: one of my earliest memories is of my mother, sadly no longer with us, telling my younger brother and myself: ‘There are very few things in this life that I’m sure of, but one of them is that your Dad loves us very, very much.’ Many years on, I have never had cause to doubt that fact.

The unconditional love I’ve received from my dad makes it almost too easy for me to relate to the intimate image of God the Father; there is, of course, a danger in seeing only the intimacy and forgetting the awe. But I’m also conscious that this understanding of God is not shared by everyone. Especially for those who have suffered neglect or even abuse at the hands of their fathers, this image of God is deeply problematic, and we need to find a different language to evoke for them the tenderness of His love. This weekend, let’s find time to pray for fathers (and mothers) everywhere: they bear the responsibility of modelling God’s love to us in tangible ways from our first moments. And let us pray particularly for those who have not known this love from their earthly parents: that they may find that acceptance in their Heavenly Father, by whatever name or image they come to know Him.

Debbie Pinfold