Today we come to yet another COVID-19 impacted holiday. The virus has already altered Palm Sunday, Easter, Mother’s Day, graduation ceremonies and countless weddings. We have celebrated drive-by birthdays and Zoom graduations. Now it is time to honor our dads.
Many dads in the nation are struggling today. Millions have lost jobs or at least part of their income. Others have been adversely impacted by the national trauma that continues to grip us in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd. Many families are hurting today. How does one celebrate any holiday with quite the same vigor as in years gone by?
Maybe it helps to study our history. According to a website named Livescience the origins of Father’s Day are simple, yet profound: “In May of 1909, Sonora Smart Dodd of Spokane, Washington, sat in church listening to a Mother’s Day sermon. She decided she wanted to designate a day for her dad, William Jackson Smart.” Dodd’s mother had died in childbirth, and Dodd’s father ... had taken the responsibility of single-handedly raising the newborn and his other five children.”
Today you may be a parent who is struggling to make it through these challenging moments in our nation. You may be a single parent wondering how you will make ends meet until times get better. Please know that if that is the case, you are not alone. I pray you have a faith family with which to share the joys and challenges of life.
If you are a dad, maybe it is worth remembering that the title “father” or “daddy” is the highest praise Jesus could ever give God. He called God one of those two names more than 150 times in the gospels. Some reading these words have lots of titles you are called. Maybe it is “doctor” or “judge” or “CEO” or “Ph.D.” You have worked to earn those lofty titles. But may I suggest that the highest title any father can ever be called is simply “dad?” After all, that is what Jesus called God. And it doesn’t get any better than that, does it?
Whether your Father’s Day celebration is in person or via Zoom or a drive-by party, celebrate the gift of loving parents on this day when so many of us remember those who are now with the Lord. May the Father of us all grant us peace on this wonderful day that goes back to a dad who raised six children all by himself. Thanks be to God!
Marvin Cameron is pastor of First Baptist Church in Kingsport.