Wishing all fathers and families a renewing and joyous Father’s Day.

The real and spiritual essence of Father’s Day celebration calls us to the truth about God, marriage, family and the human person. The Hebrew word for father, ‘ad,’ is derived from Hebrew baby sounds (‘abab,’ ‘Papa,’). This background with reference to the role of the father, as revealed in the Old Testament and New Testament is inextricable from the understanding of salvation and God’s grace (Ps 89:26; Is 63:13; Prov 3:12, Eph 6:1-4).

Father’s Day celebration is another opportunity to all men to take fathering seriously and make it the priority in our lives in order to overcome the evil, pain and dysfunction in the church and the world. The fathering that one receives affects every person’s whole life on earth as well as in eternity. The reflection is that fathering today may be the most neglected job and role in our community and churches which causes the most damage and decline to our whole spirituality, society, and world. Just as a Christian is another Christ, a father is another Father. God has given all men the grace to be and take the name of Father. In essence, when a father is strong, then his children will have the potential, the seed to be strong. When a father knows how to love, his children will have the potential and seed to love. On the importance of the seed we shown, let us answer these questions: How does a son learn how to speak to a woman; how to treat a woman; how to love a woman? How does a daughter know how a man should speak to her, treat her and love her? The answer may vary – movie, books, computer, etc, but the truth is that, it is from the father. No movie or books or ‘manual will ever be able to replace the love that only a father can give.’ To be a father is a call to covenant vocation, to plant seed, and to pull weeds.

To be a father like another Father does not happen overnight just as sitting in the church does not make you a Christian. We read about a seed thrown in rich soil. Seed planted like the Seed (Christ body) buried in a sealed tomb sprouted on the third day and produced more than 3,000 believers on the Day of Pentecost. The Seed continues to grow in billions today, bringing new believers into the Kingdom. The seed resonates with a seed of faith placed in our souls, hence just as the smallest seed can become the largest plan, a humble soul can become the greatest man, and a father can become like the Father. All that the seed of a father like the seed of faith need is ‘a wholesome place to grow.’

Emerging consensus about responsible fathering is concerned about establishing paternity, being present in the mother’s and child’s life and sharing economic support. The challenge is that some of the empirical factors that influences fathering including father factor, mother factors, child factors, co-parental factors, and broader contextual factors are not built in vacuum. Beanhm explained that God, the original Father Who create beings – male and female image-bearers so that when they come together in marital union, were able to ‘become one flesh,’ thereby fulfilling spiritual and physical intimacy (Gen 2:24). This divine plan provides an understanding of the theological importance of fathering. According to Beahm, the heavenly Father created fathers, and later mothers, in a continual line hence, ‘the family was not created by the laying of unattended eggs, or allowed to reproduce through pollination.’ Family unit (father, mother and children) is therefore the primary identity with multiple family units brought together to be the people of God, the ‘am Elohim.’

 Fathering is fundamentally a spiritual covenant rather than a social construction where each generation or government mould its cultural ideal of fathers according to its own time and conditions. The theological understanding of fathering could help to overcome the emerging gap created by the social constructionist idea of ‘culture’ of fatherhood and the ‘conduct’ of fathers in families. Social and political conditions could change, God’s standard never change (Heb 13:8) hence, the culture and the conduct or roles of father according to the Dictionary of the New Testament theology is very helpful in reclaiming the theological importance of fathering. Fathering is a divine blessing rather than a advocacy product of beliefs, motivations, attitudes and behaviours of all stakeholders in the lives of children (Gen 27). God as the head of the Church placed a father with authority as the head of the family, his house (Josh 24:15b, Ex 20:12, 21:15, Prov 23:22). God as the Chief Priest placed the father as the family priest, provider and protector (1Tim. 5:8, Ex 12:3). A father is the family’s teacher and is responsible for seeing that family life is in accordance with the covenant (Ex. 12:26f; 13:14ff, Deut 6:7, 20ff, Is 38:19, Eph 6:1-4, Col 3:20).

 The lack of theological understanding of fathering is severe and tragic especially for we fathers (Num 14:33, Ps 37:28, Pro 14:11, Is 14:20, Lam 5:7, Ex 20:5). When a generation failed to live and seek its family identity in God’s covenant, it experience the loss of blessings and a deterioration of life. Churches and nations are failing because of lack of understanding of the theological importance of fathering. The celebration of father’s day is a call to overcome ‘a neo-Pharisee subculture of the present generation.’ Father’s day celebration is a witness to the fact that marriage is God’s department. A renewing father’s day celebration would enhance effective discipleship, truth of Holy matrimony, and reclaim biblical fatherhood to impact families and for generations.

 Prayer for the father’s day: ‘It is easier for a father to have children than for children to have a real father’- Pope John XXIII.  O Lord renew me as a real father in Jesus name.