Where Father Lives, July 1

A father died and left a grieving child. "Where is my father now?" she asked, then paused. Scanning a family portrait, she saw his mark on every child, gone deep. One with the father's dark eyes, another with his height, large hands on still another to cup with comfort a slumping shoulder. "That's where my father lives", she cried. Then on into the day shew went, and the dark clouds grew thick around her and the light fled until she knew fear. The woorld is not a safe place", she said, "where is my father now"? When the others trembled and fell back, she kept walking, one footstep at a time, finding only safety in her soul. "That's where my father lives", she said. She came upon an ailing friend along the road and others hurried by. "When someone needs help is when they need it-not some other time", she had heard her father say. She had no time but she still stopped. That's where my father lives".

Every father leaves his mark upon his child more indelibly than any other place. He may run a corporation, carve monuments to his greatness, create legislation in his name, but it is his child who will show the sure impression of what he was. "I want to be like dad", writes the primary scholar, describing his ambitions-and he will be, too, socially handicapped or armed for triumph by man who reared him. Consider the lessons of the father.

A child's first sense of security my be because the father, who knows the contradictions and injustices of the world, protects him like the aspen does the seedling pine. The pine will know the weather soon enough. For now, it needs solid roots. A child's sense of right may come because a father has uncompromising integrity. His actions are not based on expediency, but value. Cheat a business colleague, go for greed, lie this one because it's convenient? Never. A child's sense of compassion may grow because his father showed him that kindness is not weak. Stop for a stricken motorist, build another's confidence, help with the dishes? Of course. Jesus Christ told us that if we knew him, we would know the Father. We too are our father's child, and even when he is gone, some gestures, some holding on when it seems impossible, some rise of courage, when all else fails us, it will let us know, that's where our Father lives.

From the Father's Day sermon

Pastor Hans Lillejord