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
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.