These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates – Deut 6:6-9
The statistics are alarming and staggering about ‘countless thousands of children … growing up in homes without a father.’ To be a godly father in such an age as ours ‘can provide challenges, especially when trying to find the right balance between giving discipline and giving grace.’ One of the main news by Robert Jobson, Royal Editor, Evening Standard of Tuesday 7th May, 2019 on Meghan and Harry’s baby was captioned ‘Fatherhood completes Harry’s journey from rebel to role model.’ According to Jobson, ‘the arrival of fatherhood completes a long and very public journey for Prince Harry – from troubled royal rebel to trusted senior member of “the firm.”’ Jobson explained that ‘the headstrong younger son of the heir to the throne has long since left behind his reputation as a playboy prince …He is now seen as a mature role model whose achievements include the launch of the Invictus Games for wounded and sick military veterans.’ It could be said that for Prince Harry, “probably being too much Army and not enough prince” was a challenge, just as too much of the church with the world and not enough obedience to God’s Word is a challenge to the church today.
Prince Harry’s journey to fatherhood started last year with his marriage to Meghan Markle. Using the words of Jobson, ‘now the birth of their son, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, the seventh in line of succession to the British throne has given Prince Harry a stability and grounding that seemed a world away just a few years ago.’ Prince Harry’s stability and his admiration for his wife, Meghan suggests a model for every family in an age and in the seductions of today’s culture. Prince Harry while announcing the birth of their son said, “how any woman does what they do is beyond comprehension.”
Prince Harry, a Commonwealth ambassador in his own words affirmed that “there come times when you think now is the time to settle down … but you can’t force these things.” The reflection is, fatherhood is a journey of becoming trusted senior member of the society. Fatherhood promote renewal – rebel to role model. Fatherhood as a means of change – boy turned man suggests a change of reputation, from a playboy to a mature role model.
Throughout the Bible, God is straightforward about His design and model for the family unit (Heb 13:8). Prince Harry’s journey to fatherhood, from rebel to role model provides us a radical transforming reflection especially in our complicated time and age ‘when every family is confronted by a culture unsympathetic with biblical values.’ Beyond the media portrayal of fathers, fatherhood is a spiritual business. The word “Father” in the verb form means, “The founder … to be the foundation” of home where love and forgiveness prevails. Transforming fatherhood is by imitating the Fatherhood of God (Eph 5:1). The reflection is that without the Father’s heart, paradise becomes a desert. Harry’s journey to fatherhood reminds us on the importance of fathers in nations building and church renewal.
Fatherhood goes beyond running a kingdom and leading men into battle, but not able to run the family (1Kg 1:5-6; 1 Sam 3:13). The question is what are the lessons for the family, churches, and nations today in Harry’s journey to fatherhood? The message is that, enough of rebellion and playboy in our national, political, and religious system. Fathering is fundamentally a spiritual covenant that one settle down to rather than a social construction where each generation or government mould its cultural ideal of fathers according to its own time and conditions. Prince Harry’s journey reminds us that fatherhood is not a sprint. It is a marathon that will last a lifetime and it is run different according to different child.
Congratulations to Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex. O Lord, let Your peace, which surpasses all understanding, guard their hearts and minds in Christ Jesus – Amen.