May his children be fatherless
and his wife a widow.
May his children be wandering beggars;
may they be driven from their ruined homes.
May a creditor seize all he has;
may strangers plunder the fruits of his labor.
May no one extend kindness to him
or take pity on his fatherless children.
Reflection: Helping Fathers and the Fatherless
By John Tillman
People of David’s time understood that fatherlessness was a known cause of suffering for children and families. If children were fatherless, they were expected to be poor, wandering beggars. God’s people are commanded to be compassionate to widows and orphans precisely because God knew and cared for their hardship.
What David may not have foreseen, however, is that today’s fatherless children would suffer not only the disinterest of society but the disinterest of their own fathers. Most of the fatherless children in David’s day knew that it was the horrors of war or exile or accident that had taken their fathers away unwillingly. Today’s fatherless often are left fatherless by choice not by catastrophe. They aren’t orphans of war, but of willful abandonment.
According to Vincent Dicaro at the National Fatherhood Initiative, fatherhood in the United States has made some gains in recent years, but not for everyone.
“While it is true that among middle-class families, father involvement is looking very good, it is also true that America has record levels of father absence, a crisis that mainly affects lower-income families. In fact, 24 million children, 1 out of every 3, lives in a home in which their biological father does not live. That rate is closer to 2 out of 3 in the African American community. And among those children living in father-absent homes, 1/3 have no contact with their dads, and another 1/3 have contact once per month or less.
So, the picture is actually quite bleak in too many communities across the country.”
Fathers in our communities need the church’s help and support, not our judgment. The fatherless are in our communities not to suffer for the sins of their parents, but that we might have an opportunity to demonstrate the love of God, their true Father.
May we, along with introducing our communities to God the Father, introduce them to a definition and example of fatherhood that is based on the love that God has shown us.
May we work to ensure that the benefits of fatherhood and the resources needed to be a good father are spread to all levels of our communities.
May we lovingly bless the fatherless in our communities knowing that they are not there because of the sin of themselves or their parents, but that through them we might show the glory of God.
Prayer: The Call to Prayer
Come now and see the works of God, how wonderful he is in his doings toward all people. — Psalm 66.5
– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.
Deuteronomy 19 (Listen – 3:04)
Psalm 106 (Listen – 4:52)
This Weekend’s Readings
Deuteronomy 20 (Listen – 2:55), Psalm 107 (Listen – 4:12)
Deuteronomy 21 (Listen – 3:33), Psalm 108-109 (Listen – 4:28)
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You are the Father all fathers should be.
Gentle. Caring. Loving. Righteous. Just.