Planting Seeds on Father's Day

Dear Parishioners,
On a Sunday afternoon, the church parking lot is the perfect training ground for training wheels. For instance, a couple of weeks ago, I watched a Dad teaching his young son how to ride a bike. Both being dressed in the standard issue Fairfield uniform of khaki shorts, polo shirt, and turtle helmets, they were a photo-op for a Kodak moment. The son did well, managing for the most part to defy gravity on two wheels. At the father’s encouragement, he was able to cycle in circles that got wider and wider as his confidence grew. His Dad did a great job of talking him through it and always ran up to steady things when he saw a topple might be coming. Maybe inevitably, little Johnny started feeling his oats and suddenly sped off in another direction. That didn’t end well. But after Dad got to the crash site, picked up the bike and his boy, soothed the road rash with some reassurance, they were back in business.

As I walked away from the window, this little parking lot parable stayed with me. I’m convinced that our early images of God are shaped and influenced to a large degree by our parents. If I’m right, then this Dad was doing a lot more than teaching his son how to ride a bike. To borrow the metaphor from today’s readings, he was planting seeds. I’m hoping this child will have a similar experience of the Lord
as he rides through life, knowing a God who is loving and encouraging in all endeavors, and a God who kneels at each crash site, picking him up and soothing his wounds. This half hour in the parking lot may
have gone a long way toward that end.

Today, Father’s Day, may well be filled with the sounds of burgers sizzling on grills, golf balls hitting the green, and TV channels spinning through baseball games. Perhaps while you’re walking to the
nineteenth hole or waiting for the coals to get hot, all of you who are fathers will take a moment to consider the holy work that you are involved with. Whether your child is six years old or you’re walking
her down the aisle at her wedding or you’re watching him hold his own son, let God be perceived through your sense of fatherhood: not so much in how well you can quote the Bible, but much more in how you
teach them to ride a bike….

Father John