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A Reflection for Father’s Day

The Fourth Sunday After Pentecost

Forgot to get a gift for dad this Father’s Day?  Well, you could just drop him off at The Home Depot and let him play with all the other dads.

Or listen to Dave Barry, who says, “Remember: What dad really wants is a nap. Really.”

Mike Primavera advises, “Get your dad what he really wants this Father’s Day: turn off the lights when you leave the room.”

A tweet from a guy with the username Dad and Buried reads, “Called my dad to wish him a happy Father’s Day and we spent the whole time discussing back pain and ibuprofen. The circle is now complete.”

There are few things in life more rewarding than having a great relationship with your parents. Pro golfer Bubba Watson listed his priorities in his Twitter description as “Christian. Husband. Daddy. Pro Golfer.” He and his wife Angie have two adopted children, and Watson says that the joy of being a father far outweighs any professional success he has achieved. He took some time off from golf after the first adoption so he could bond with his son. He said, “I had to be there for my son, so golf was the farthest thing from my mind . . . Trying to be a good husband, a good dad, was the most important thing.”

Good fathers (and mothers) have a natural impulse to protect their children and to serve as an example to them in tough times. There is a story in Mark’s Gospel that speaks to the heart of what we celebrate on Father’s Day. It’s a story about the disciples caught in a terrible storm. They need courage. They need leadership.  And they need an example of how to face a challenge that is beyond their strength. Know the feeling?

The story begins at the end of a typical day for Jesus and his disciples. Jesus has been teaching huge crowds of people by the Sea of Galilee. But the crowds have finally gone home, and it’s time to pack up and head to their next ministry spot in the region of the Gerasenes, in modern-day Jordan. It must have been a tiring day. So Jesus went to the back of the boat to catch a nap. And suddenly the weather went bad.

“A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, ‘Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?’” (4:37-38)

Many of us have asked the same question at some time in our lives. We’ve hit a storm. Not just a stressful event. But something that is so devastating that we don’t have the strength to face it on our own. And where’s Jesus? He seems to be asleep in the stern of our boats and we want to ask, “Do you not care that we are perishing?”

Everybody goes through storms at some time or another. It may be a problem marriage, a severe illness, the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, an addiction, or issues with our children or parents.

The worst part is that Jesus seems to be asleep during these storms. “Why doesn’t he intervene?” we plead. Where is God in my distress? Do you not care that we are perishing?

But, you see, like a good father, God does care. When the storms of life are raging, when it seems you can’t hold on a moment longer, God cares.

Remember this: Jesus had all the power in heaven and earth available to him.      He chose to empty himself of this power and to take on the life of an average man. He chose to endure hardship. He chose to endure oppression from the Roman government and rejection from the religious establishment and his own family.   He chose to be hungry, to be lonely, to be abandoned and betrayed by his closest friends. He chose to suffer wrongful arrest and torture and humiliation and death.

Jesus chose to place himself into every imaginable storm because he had faith that God the Father was using these storms for a greater purpose, for the salvation of the world. Jesus chose to place himself into every imaginable storm because he knew the Father was with him every step of the way. That’s how he could face down every storm without fear.

Glenn Scrivener says that a few years ago he prayed to God that he would get to know God better. Well, within a week of that prayer, Glenn’s employers deported him from England back to Australia, his long-time girlfriend broke up with him, and his parents announced they were divorcing.

In the midst of all these painful events, Glenn had a revelation: God was using these storms to answer Glenn’s prayer. He realized that following Jesus often leads us into challenging pathways. We often can’t understand the power and the peace of God unless we encounter it in the middle of a storm. The best way to get to know God is to be caught in a storm with Him.

And that’s a lesson the disciples needed to learn. So they rouse Jesus from his sleep, and he speaks to the wind and the waves, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceases and there is a great calm. Then he turns to the disciples and asks, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?”

The big question in life is not how many storms we must pass through. The question is whether we have faith for the storms. All of us will encounter storms. Sometimes it will seem as if God Himself has forsaken us. It is at such times that our faith will be critical.

A few years ago, a woman named Chastity Patterson lost her step-father. After his death, Chastity continued to send daily text messages to his old phone number. She just wanted to feel like he was still there, still sharing the ups and downs of her daily life. While she didn’t expect a response, the daily texting was a way of dealing with her storm of grief.

Just before the fourth anniversary of her step-dad’s death, Chastity received a text from the old number. It was from a man named Brad. “I am not your father,” Brad texted, “but I have been getting all your messages for the past four years. … I lost my daughter in a car wreck (in) August 2014 and your messages have kept me alive. When you text me, I know it’s a message from God.” Brad texted that he was proud of how Chastity had managed the challenges in her life over the past four years. Brad went on to say that he had read her messages for all that time but hadn’t texted her back for fear of breaking her heart.

Chastity posted the exchange to Facebook, saying, “Today was my sign that everything is okay and I can let [my dad] rest!”

After Chastity’s story went viral, she posted that she had shared the story to show friends and family “that there is a God and it might take four years, but he shows up right on time!”

Do you believe in a God who loves you and has promised never to forsake you? Do you believe that however dark the clouds may be, behind those clouds, the sun still shines? Do you believe that beyond every cross, there is an empty tomb? 

Through their struggles with the storm, the disciples learned that there is indeed a God – and God shows up right on time.

- Rev. John Reese - St. Andrews Episcopal Church:  A Father’s Day Reflection



Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithfuland kindle in them the fire of your love.

- Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created,

and you shall renew the face of the earth.


May God Bless you and yours as we journey in this Pentecost Season…

May God’s Spirit empower us to

“expect great things from God and to attempt great things for God”…  and

May God Continue to Bless Union Church!


-Pastor Mark



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