Up early today to get to the studios and appear on Mike Georges show here is my script for today
I picked up the phone the voice at the other end told me that dad who had been in and out of hospital for months, and in failing health somewhat longer than that, was now dying.It was not unexpected news and yet I was surprised to find myself feeling strangely shocked.
It was a hot July day, my heart beating faster than usual I dashed over to the hospice hoping that I would be in time
The journey took less than 15 minutes but when I arrived I was greeted with the news that he had died,minutes before Even though I had seen him very recently I felt distraught If only I had been there a short time earlier.
On reflection, I guess that’s how dad would have wanted it to be. We had said our goodbyes I had told him that I loved him and the truth is He never did like fuss especially when it came to his health. I can hear him say it now There is nothing more boring for me to talk about and for you to hear than the story of my illness
I still have a self portrait he painted - in oil - grey hair ,casual jumper, glasses on a face full of lines and character. I look at that painting often and every time I do my heart aches a little.
We had very different personalities. we had different beliefs, different philosophies of life. When I was nineteen and told him I'd become a Christian he said "Don't worry I was a communist for 6 months at your age"
We didn't agree on very much but he was the only dad I will ever have and I loved him and I guess I love him still.
So today is Father’s Day.
For many people it's quite rightly a day of celebration, with cards addressed to the best dad in the world, presents of socks, ties, and aftershave. Lunches and meals out.
At our church we're having a brunch to celebrate Father’s day.. and why wouldn't we? It’s worth celebrating our dads just as much as Mothering Sunday celebrates our mums.
And yet …I will also think today about those who have not got a dad (or perhaps have never even known their dad).
Those dads who've lost children, or lost touch with their children - those men who would love to have had children but for whatever reason - have not. And I also think of those whose relationships with their dad was poor.
There is a wonderful story Jesus told called the Prodigal Son.
It is a story of a son who demands his inheritance, while his dad is still alive, takes the money moves away from his family wastes it all ,ends up feeding the pigs eventually he swallows his pride decides to go home to see his dad expecting he will never really be forgiven or accepted for what he has done.
But unbeknown to the prodigal his dad has been searching for him every day he has been away, and when he spots him a long way off he uninhibitedly runs towards him throws his arm around him welcomes him home and then throws a great party in celebration that his son has been found!
I don't know what your relationship with your dad is, or was like, brilliant or bitter, I don't know whether Father’s day makes you full of joy or makes you feel deeply sad, but I do know that each of us has a Father in Heaven who loves us with a fierce and never ending love and whoever we are and whatever is always there for us.