This year I have been very much aware of all the advertising that is around mentioning the fact that this coming Sunday is Father’s Day.
While no doubt some of this advertising is to encourage people to part with some of their money in order to buy their fathers (or father figure) a present, it is right to highlight the important part that many fathers play in the upbringing of their children. The prayer that Jesus taught his followers to say, begins with the words ‘Our Father who art in heaven….’ By using these words Jesus was indicating to his followers that He felt that they should look on God as not being this distant remote figure, but rather as someone who cared for and looked after those people he had created, in the same way that the best earthly fathers look after their children. Unfortunately some of the fathers mentioned in the Old Testament had less than perfect relationships with their children – sometimes because they made the terrible mistake of favouring one of their children over the rest. Jesus however told his followers a story which featured the best kind of father there is. This father had two sons. One of whom wanted to leave the family business and seek his fortune. The father did not stand in his son’s way. The son went off and instead of increasing the money that he had been given by his father, squandered it. In time he returned home to seek his father’s forgiveness. The father rushed to welcome him home and forgave him. He loved his son unconditionally as every good parent does. Jesus told this parable to explain how forgiving God would be to his earthly children even if they wasted the gifts He gave them