Archive for June, 2012

Father’s Day and My Birthday: A Doubly Lovely Day

June 16, 2012

On occasion the third Sunday in June, Father’s Day, coincides with my birthday, June 17, making it a “doubly lovely day.”

As Christian Spirituality Examiner for Columbus, Ohio, I recently posted an article regarding the history of Father’s Day and a listing of local places to celebrate this popular holiday, occurring the third Sunday in June. Click here to read that article. On certain occasions the third Sunday falls on June 17, which providentially is my birthday. This Sunday turns out to be a “doubly lovely day” for me.

Not too long ago I was thinking about Father’s Day and the challenge of coming up with a special gift year after year. As I thought about past years, I recalled something my father, who passed away in 1996, said to me one time when I ran out of ideas and asked if there were anything in particular that he wanted. His reply inspired this poem written on Father’s Day of 2003:

The Perfect Father’s Day Gift

There was a time when I would stretch my mind,

Make a list and try to think of the perfect gift,

As we approached Father’s Day, the third Sunday in June.

Now let me see what will it be?

I know . . . a portable radio. . .

What about a shirt—extra large—to fit?

Pajamas, house shoes, another Dopp kit?

Each year I would really try, as I resolved:

No more cologne—not another tie!

One year I ran out of ideas, and so I asked,

“Dad, what do you want for Father’s Day?”

He thought awhile and in his own quiet way,

He smiled and had this to say:

“Just between me and you,

Here’s what you can do.

Just keep me proud of you.

Son, just keep me proud of you.”

Now when my daughters ask,

What can they get me for Father’s Day?

I fondly remember, and I smile and say,

“The words of your Grandpa are still true.

As he said to me, so I say to you:

‘Just between me and you,

Here’s what you can do.

Just keep me proud of you.

Girls, just keep me proud of you.”

I also recalled the lyrics to one of the hymns sung so many times as child and as an adult, which seems most appropriate for this occasion, “Faith of Our Fathers.” The accompanying video offers a stirring rendition of  a medley of “Faith of Our Fathers,” “I Know Whom I Have Believed,” and “God of Our Fathers”: three familiar hymns apropos of Father’s Day.

 As believers we have a remarkable inheritance of faith, the “Faith of Our Fathers,” that has been passed down to us from countless generations, going back to Abraham, the father of faith, passed on to the mighty men of faith of the Old Testament, all the way through to Jesus Christ, for we have received the “faith of Jesus Christ.” Moreover, we are surrounded by the great cloud of witnesses spoken of in the New Testament and giants of faith who have lived beyond the First Century, as we are still inspired by the lives of great men of faith today. Men of faith inspire faith in others, as this original Father’s Day poem speaks of that priceless inheritance passed on:

Legacies

       I

Faithful and true heroes ever remain

And generate legacies we pass on

To each generation, father to son,

Heart to heart. The light of life left behind

Ever shines to brighten the path of truth,

Raised and then passed on from elder to youth.

       II

Faithful and true heroes ever remain for all

Who hear the mandate and rise to answer God’s call.

Our lives of service are legacies we pass on

To the next generation, from father to son.

With the love of Christ in us, we tear down each wall.

We rally to support a brother should he fall.

Our ears have been pierced with the sharp tip of an awl:

A covenant of blood ever seals our union.

Faithful and true heroes ever remain.

Spiritual athletes excel beyond glove or ball.

They seek to bring out the best, as iron sharpens iron,            

Striving to finish strong and pass on the baton.

On the shoulders of our fathers we now stand tall

To view the future where greater victories are won.

Faithful and true heroes ever remain.

This particular Father’s Day may be a very difficult time for many families who have lost a father, as result of the War in Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere in the world where many of those who serve in the military have offered that last full measure of devotion and sacrificed their lives. Others may have suffered the loss of their fathers in other ways that are no less painful. I would like to close this entry with this reminder that God is our Father, a Father who is deeply touched by our grief. He is the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation,that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. Here is a wonderful reminder of God, our Father’s compassion, as in the accompanying video encourages us to “Trust His Heart.”                 

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Five for Twelve on 5-4-12

June 5, 2012

Isaiah 62 with its 12 verses comprises the theme for the New Year: “Twelve for Twelve in 2012.”

 At the beginning of the New Year, I posted a blog in Dr. J’s Apothecary Shoppe based on my theme and scriptural focal point for 2012. In this case, I had selected Isaiah 62, a passage that most providentially contains twelve verses. In studying the chapter, I decided to write a series of poems, as I personalized each of the twelve verses, calling the collection “Twelve for Twelve for 2012.” Here is the link to the first installment, published in two parts, inspired by Isaiah 62:1: “One for Twelve”:

The series continues with the sixth installment “Six for Twelve,” a personalized poetic rendering of Isaiah 62:6, posted on June 4, 2012 (6-4-12).  Here is the verse from the New Living Testament:

O Jerusalem, I have posted watchmen on your walls;
they will pray day and night, continually.
Take no rest, all you who pray to the Lord.      

 Isaiah 62:6

 Six for Twelve

 Isaiah 62:6

                                                                

  

No matter what happens I say, “Watch, fight and pray.”         

O Jerusalem, I have posted my watchmen on your walls;        

Take note and see that they pray continually.   

As a desperate man, one who constantly calls,                             

So pray day and night; pour out your souls before Me.         

No matter what happens I say, “Watch, fight and pray.”  

Take no rest, all you who pray to the Lord.

Approach Me with gratitude and have no complaint.                    

I have empowered you with the might of My Word. 

The Lord says men should always pray and not faint.   

Morning, noontime, evening and night, throughout the day, 

No matter what happens I say, “Watch, fight and pray.”      

The phrase “Watch, fight and pray,” brings to mind one of the verses from the gospel song “O Happy Day” popularized by the Edwin Hawkins Singers in 1969.