Yesterday, June 20th, was Father’s Day. (And, June 19 was Juneteenth, which is now a federal holiday, but I’ll save that one for another blog!)
In the United States, Father’s Day is celebrated the third Sunday in June. A Spokane, Washington, woman named Sonora Smart Dodd, one of six children raised by a widower, tried to establish an official equivalent to Mother’s Day for male parents. She went to local churches, the YMCA, shopkeepers and government officials to drum up support for her idea, and she was successful: Washington State celebrated the nation’s first statewide Father’s Day on June 19, 1910. However, it was not until 1972 – 58 years after President Woodrow Wilson made Mother’s Day official – that the day honoring fathers became a nationwide holiday in the United States when President Richard Nixon signed it into law that year. (history.com)
June 20th also happened to be the beginning of summer and of the summer solstice (“the longest day”) in the northern hemisphere – though the extreme heat arrived early this year (a new Colorado record in June for 100+ degree days). And, it was my dad’s birthday, who wasn’t too interested in birthdays or Father’s Day, but loved summer (when it wasn’t 100 degrees). As my dad, I don’t care too much about this holiday (nor for birthdays), although I do sincerely appreciate the remarkable male teachers, professors, mentors, and friends throughout my life. I like summer too (especially along the California coast), and I have loved being Daddy, Dad or Daddio to two amazing now young adults. Interesting, at least to me, that I never called my dad “father.”
Years ago, as a youth, a statement by Christ Jesus stood out to me: “…call no man your father upon upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.” (Matthew 23:9)
So, I literally didn’t. And, though I get why a lot of folks refer to their dads as father, I’ve questioned the reasoning why ordained priests and clergy in churches are called “father” – as this practice had its origin in the monastic world of medieval period, when the head of a monastery was called “abbot,” meaning the father of the community. (history.com) It seems to me that those of the clergy would wish to more carefully follow the Master Christian, Jesus, who was very clear and consistent in his directives and language (especially when one closely reads a red-letter Bible with all his words in red type). Christ Jesus began the Lord’s Prayer, “Our Father.” He said we all have one Father. He prayed repeatedly to his (our) heavenly Father, God, and taught we all have one Creator or Father. Regardless, Jesus also emphatically taught that we all should love God and have love one to another. (See Gospels)
Scripture also states, “Have we not all one father? Hath not one God created us?” (Malachi 2)
Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science and founded The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts, gives this spiritual definition of “Father” in the “Glossary” of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: “FATHER. Eternal Life; the one Mind; the divine Principle, commonly call God.” (p. 586) And she defines “DAY. The irradiance of Life; light, the spiritual idea of Truth and Love.” (p. 584)
Thus, whether you spent this Father’s Day with family or friends, at home or in church, hiking or golfing, or watching the US Open at stunning Torrey Pines in San Diego, California, I hope you also felt the irradiance of Life, saw a bit of the brilliant light of Love, and acknowledged some of the blessings showered upon His creation from our heavenly Father, God.
So, love God, our Father, every day, and hug or say thanks to a dad or “father figure” as often as you feel the inspiration!
Lastly, you may have thought a bit about Juneteenth, and I hope you have a great summer, filled with equality, freedom, health and happiness!
D. Brian Boettiger