Sorry Spokane

by DanWolgemuth on June 19, 2017

Father’s Day was founded in Spokane, Washington at the YMCA in 1910 by Sonora Smart Dodd, who was born in Arkansas. The first celebration was in the Spokane YMCA on June 19, 1910. Her father, the Civil War veteran William Jackson Smart, was a single parent who raised his six children there.

There you have it. According to Wikipedia, it was in Spokane, Washington, and not in the corporate hallways of Hallmark where Father’s Day was established.

Father’s Day. An invitation to position ourselves somewhere on a continuum from:
Pain Filled…….to…….Celebration Worthy

In a recent blog posted in , author James K.A. Smith writes:

Father’s Day is easy for me: I have none.  They all left.

So I don’t have to find an awkward card amidst the vast selection on sale.  I don’t have to make the clichéd choice between necktie or power tool.  I don’t have to endure the awkwardness of a largely wordless afternoon in the presence of my progenitor, or remember to call and then try to wrangle a conversation out of the receiver.  (“I don’t have to,” of course, is its own sort of spin, papering over the “I don’t get to” buried beneath it.)

So Father’s Day is easy for me.

It’s the rest of the fatherless days that are difficult.

I had a dad. A good one. Not a perfect one… but a really good one. I miss him. I loved him.

But twelve years in Youth For Christ has impolitely exposed me to many in our communities for whom James Smith’s words are not novel, they’re painfully descriptive.

Now what?

Perhaps Spokane wasn’t the location of the first Father’s Day and maybe it wasn’t 1910 when it was founded. Roughly 1900 years before Sonora Smart Dodd celebrated her single parent dad… on a mountainside in Galilee, Jesus introduced us to Father’s Day. The words have been printed millions of times since. In the Bible, not greeting cards.

There was no awkward photo, no cartoon etched, no gift receipt enclosed… just the invitation for a conversation with a Perfect Father. Our Perfect Father.

It went something like this…

Hey Dad. First, thanks for being our dad. Not just mine, but ours. You are awesome and amazing and more incredible than any father that has ever been or will ever be.

The impact of your fathering has profoundly impacted me here, even as I know it will for all of eternity.

I’m acutely aware that everything I have, even the scone and the fruit I had for breakfast are a gift that you have provided for me. Frankly, I need your help for lunch and dinner… and yes, for tomorrow as well.

The closer I get to you, the more I realize what a mess I am. Selfish, proud, impatient… you know it well. I’m really in debt to you. And that puts into perspective the small debt that others might have with me. I better erase that debt so that I underscore my gratitude that you obliterated my debt.

Please, please steer me away from the places where my soul is vulnerable. Where foolishness looks acceptable, where righteousness feels outdated.

And let me add… all of this is because you are an amazing King with unbounded power which illuminates your indescribable glory.

Thank you Dad.
Happy Father’s Day.

To the fatherless, a dad. To fathers, a guide. To the world, an icon of power and hope and healing and redemption and rescue and perfect love.

Sorry Spokane… it was in Galilee that Father’s Day was established. It was there that our identity was shaped forever.

For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:26)

Our Father… forever.

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