Written by Nancy Dahlburg, delivered by yours truly Sunday June 15th, 2008.
God, today of all days, we thank you for giving us fathers. Thank you for being a God who set an example of what a loving parent should be so that we might know some of the ways in which parents should love their children. You love us even when we disappoint you....you love us when we don’t do our best....you have shown us how to care, how to commit, how to show affirmation and unconditional love. Thank you for being a God who shows us the love of a committed and compassionate parent and thank you for loving us even when our earthly parent’s have failed to live up to your example.
Today, O God, we thank you for all the people in our lives who have shown us the love of a trustworthy parent:....for those men who fathered us, or adopted us, or fostered us or mentored us. Thank you God for the men in our lives who taught us how to put a worm on a hook, who told us scary stories around a camp fire, who carried us to bed when we fell asleep in the car, and who only knew how to make peanut butter sandwiches when mom was sick. Thank you for dads who taught us how to swim – in lakes and pools – but also in board rooms and offices. Thank you for those fathers of ours who had patience, persistence, and praise. For those who took the time to know us – for the ones who held us in the embrace of a family love – even when we wanted to turn away. Thank you for fathers – the ones that tried – the ones that didn’t – the ones that need your forgiveness and ours – the ones that left us early, but never seem to go away.
Thank you God for fathers who worried when we took the car keys and thank you for fathers who didn’t worry when we applied for college. Thank you for the fathers of our youth that we have befriended in adulthood, and thank you for the fathers who finally learned to be a father with their children’s children. Today, O God, above all days, we thank you for dad, and grand-dad, great grandpa, our uncles, step dads, pappies, boom-pa’s, pop, father, and the guy we called “the old man”.
And today we also thank you for the women in our lives who took our father’s role when our father couldn’t or our father wouldn’t. We ask for the healing of our memories where those relationships that might have been failed to meet our expectations, and we ask for forgiveness for the ways in which fathers have burdened others with their responsibilities or neglected their role but wanted the credit.
Thank you for all our father’s....for the ones we love, for the ones we’ve lost, for the ones we have never had and the ones who have yet to earn the title. We thank you for those who were, those who are, and those who are yet to be. We pray in faith, believing in the name of Jesus our Christ, and praying the prayer that begins with words particularly meaningful today: Our father..... Amen.