Today is Father’s Day. It is also Juneteenth. I will not get to spend time with my Dad today, because I leave for a week-long mission trip with a group of middle schoolers. I am so thankful that I get to spend a lot of time with my Dad and Mom each week. 

This post is a simple Father’s Day card to my Dad that I invite you to enjoy.

My Dad showed me as I was growing up, and continues to demonstrate, what God’s love looks like.

The image above is a mind-map I drew for a sermon back in August, 2017. We were in a summer series called The Good Life, and I was assigned the topic of Love. The White Supremecist Rally in Charlottsville happened at the same time, so I found myself bringing God’s love, as represented in scripture, into conversation with the history of racism embedded in the Western European Christian tradition.

Today, I find myself reflecting on the convergence of Juneteenth with Father’s Day. So many people have had abusive fathers, angry fathers, absent fathers, self-absorbed fathers. Many people project their lived experience with their human father onto God. Their God is a power-hungry tyrant who is obessessed with his own holiness and lives to grab land and exploit those who are not “elect.” That god justifies white supremecy. 

I am so thankful that my  human father has modeled for me another vision of God. My Dad has been a disciple of Jesus since he was in high school. Dad has never been a denominational company man, or a “Defender of the Truth,” or a blind adherent to a fixed creed.

My Dad didn’t grow up with a Dad. He encountered Jesus when he was in high school and listened as Jesus called God, “Abba.” My Dad has been a humble student of the master teacher and has never stopped being open to learning more about how Jesus modeled a radical love for all people.

The scripture tells us that Jesus is the image of God. In other words, if you want to know what the love of God looks like in human form, study Jesus. My Dad has done that his whole life and, because of him, I have been able to see God’s love in action as well.

I invite you to dwell in the mind-map above. Think about how the love of God is for all people. Think about how powerfully important Juneteenth is for people whose ancestors were enslaved on this land for 400 years. Think about ways that we can learn to grow deeper in the love of God and heal our land, making room for EVERYONE.

Thanks, Dad, for helping me grow in our Father’s love.

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