By Rev Angela C Bosfield Palacious
Father's Day falls during the season in the Church when the Sundays are numbered as they follow after Pentecost Sunday. It is such a blessing to be in the presence of a father who is filled with the power of God and who is a loving presence in his home.
The Gospel of John describes the commissioning of the frightened disciples who cower behind closed door, until the Lord appears and breathes the Holy Spirit into their spirits (John 20:19-23 NRSV): "When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, 'Peace be with you.' After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, 'Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.' When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, 'Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained'."
What if every father in the Bahamas considered himself as one sent by God to speak the language of love and prayer to his children and to inspire other young men? What if every child had a godly father? What a wonderful world this would be. To walk beside or behind a man who modelled gentleness and joy, strength and peace, who spoke truth in love...that would be an incredible daily experience.
First of all, to have him in the home on a regular and consistent basis would be the first blessing. Then to have him attentive and available to listen, to play and share wise thoughts every day, would be a delight that is indescribable. Finally, to know that resources would be in full supply for the one set of children that he had in his marital home (his only home), and to watch him pray to God, morning and night, in humble gratitude for the gift of family life would be the "spiritual icing on any child's cake."
Acts 2:1-8 relates the well-known version of the Pentecost story, highlighting the many dialects and languages that the disciples were able to speak to the astonishment of the many Jewish visitors in Jerusalem: "Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. Utterly amazed, they asked: 'Aren't all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language?'"
What if every father came to realise that he possesses the language of the male perspective that his female and male children need to hear throughout their lives? To comprehend the power of praise and encouragement is an awesome discovery of what it means to nurture a child and mould a life.
Every father with the discernment to understand the difference that his presence makes is like a Rembrandt or Picasso, who brings to light the hidden essence of life in a work of art. He controls the spiritual experience of God as Father by the image he portrays of fatherhood, making it so much easier to love God, if he is patient and loving. Words of forgiveness, of justice and mercy, spoken freely as a part of the process of discipline with its rewards and punishments when necessary, are unforgettable. Tender touches, affectionate embraces, hearty laughs, firm grips, strong shoulders are just some of the ways that a man can be a holy man in his home.
Men of the Bahamas, why not decide to walk the path of integrity from this day forward? Why not seek help for a violent temper or addictive dependence? Why not pray to fall in love again with the wife of your youth and the mother of your children? Why not refrain from creating a new life if there is no committed marital "nest" in which to receive the little one? Why not pay your child support to assist your children for their sakes? Why not learn from a godly man with a loving compassionate spirit how to celebrate the gift of fatherhood as a call and ministry?
• Rev Angela Palacious, a motivational speaker and author of several devotional books, is an Anglican priest. She may be contacted at 393-9000 or by e-mail at email@example.com.