Thursday, June 27, 2013

Fathers' Day Surprise

I stared at that bouquet of flowers handed over to me feeling little uneasy. It was Fathers’ Day and I was reminded of it early in the morning by my two children who had wished me already before I went to church. In my church I have made it a policy that we will pray for fathers on Fathers’ Day and mothers on Mothers’ day in the church but will not have any celebration of such days on Sundays. My reason is simple. Nowadays, almost every day is ‘some day’ and it distracts our attention from the real business that we are supposed to do on Sunday: the Lord’s Day. I don’t encourage celebration of such days to make sure these celebrations do not eclipse the day that is of paramount importance: the Lord’s Day.
However, one of the youth took the initiative to buy a bouquet of flowers and when I had said the benediction at the end of the service, shot in front of the pulpit with the flowers saying, ‘today is Fathers’ Day. And we would like to honor our pastor who is our spiritual father with these flowers.’ She also announced that an elderly lady in the church will pray for all fathers in the church. It was gross disobedience and violation of rules! However, I accepted it on behalf of all the fathers in the church.
I was busy after the service: Had to meet a lot of people, especially the new-comers. After all the meetings, I left the church in a hurry leaving the flowers in the church. In an hour’s time, some youth in the church turned up at my door with the flowers that I left behind in the church. One of them with a grouchy face said, ‘Uncle, you left the flowers in the church!’ And she trespassed into my house and placed it on the coffee table at the center of my living room. And others looked at me as if they have revenged me for a crime. I apologized and thanked them for bring it to me. Now, there it is on my table.
I stare at it at least three or four times a day since it has been there. When I look at these flowers, I see the younger faces of my congregation and God speaks to me powerfully. I see faces of young people who have come to the city to get an education or job leaving their parents. Most of them came immediately after leaving high school and get to see their parents only once in a year. We try our maximum to get most of them to our home on Sundays for a meal and fellowship. Some of them have lost their fathers when they were young: some were just 12 when their fathers passed away. Some have fathers but they are absentee fathers. Not really interested in their children. They drink, spent all their time at workplaces, or in socializing with their friends and hardly have any time for their children. Some belong to single mothers, their fathers have left them or are no more!
These flowers bother me a lot. They tell me there is quite a big-sized crowd who have installed me at the place that their biological fathers have vacated! I need to fill in that place! Pastor as father is a discomforting responsibility.
A few days before this, I was reading a blogpost where the writer talks about a young lady who was sobbing when her pastor announced that he is moving to another church soon! Why should any young lady sob when the pastor is moving out? Lots of reasons: She is a new believer. He is her first pastor. But most important one is that she had no father. Ever since she came to this church and became a Christ-follower, she has found her lost father in the pastor. For her, it is not a pastor moving out, but it is dad leaving. Does the pastor realize that he will be orphaning many such young ones when he moves out?
The blog and the flowers still torment me in a gentle way. A torment that I am beginning to enjoy and would to live with. The new realization that I have children besides my own biological ones who love me and look up to me as their dad is exhilarating. It also reminds me that there is an awesome responsibility upon me to model a father. That modeling is important because these young lives will learn how to be fathers and even mothers from the way I parent. The flowers are still fresh though they are almost one old week now--thanks to the damp monsoon weather. They may wither one day however, but their message will stay on to challenge and motivate all those who like me are looked upon by others as fathers, in the church, school, workplace... wherever someone need to imagine a father in us.

Burning Bushes

'And the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush was burning,...