Father in heaven! Draw our hearts to you so that our longing may be where our treasure is supposed to be.
Scripture: Psalm 105.5-6
Remember the wondrous works that he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he uttered, O offspring of Abraham, his servant, children of Jacob, his chosen ones!
Reflection: Fatherhood’s Collapse, Love’s Destruction
The Park Forum
There are few ways to understate the brokenness of fatherhood in our culture. The Washington Times reports that 11% of kids grew up in a home without a father in 1960. Today that number is over 33%. Princeton Historian Lawrence Tone observes:
The scale of marital breakdowns in the West since 1960 has no historical precedent that I know of. There has been nothing like it for the last 2,000 years, and probably longer.
Paternal absence is so high — near pandemic — that we have barely began a public conversation on quality or character of fathers. For many, it wasn’t a father’s absence, but the character and quality of his presence that left the deepest wounds.
While Scripture uses many images for God, few of them create the mixed emotions of talking about God as Father. The effects of this reaction cannot be underestimated. Our view of love is anemic because our view of fatherhood is so damaged. It is God’s fatherhood that gives the depth, intimacy, and love we desire most.
If God is only a teacher, we miss the relational depth we need. If he is only creator we lack intimacy with him (he is like a watchmaker). If he’s only a judge he can love the law, but isn’t required to love the one in his courtroom.
The Christian view of God as father does not simply take the characteristics of earthly fathers and polish them up a bit. God as our Father creates a new image of a good, true, and perfect Father.
But where is this fatherhood rooted? The Bible says God is love. Not just that he has love or shows love, but that his very nature is love. In this sense, 1 Corinthians 13 could be paraphrased:
Dad is patient. Dad is kind. Dad does not envy or boast. Dad is not arrogant. Dad is not rude. Dad does not insist on his own way. Dad is not irritable. Dad is not resentful. Dad does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Dad bears all things for his kids. Dad believes all things about his kids. Dad hopes all things for his kids. Dad endures all things for his kids. Dad’s love never ends.
Prayer: The Request for Presence
“May God be merciful to us and bless us,* show us the light of his countenance and come to us.”
Excerpt From: Phyllis Tickle. “The Divine Hours (Volume One): Prayers for Summertime.”
– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.