Celebrating the Blessing of Diversity
Message by AJ Fox
The opening words today:
Gathering here today,
we honor the people in our lives and our congregation
who hold the role of father
and the responsibility of fatherhood.
As Unitarian Universalists, our values help us know that fatherhood looks and feels very different for different people.
That the role of fatherhood is not tied to sex or gender, that the people taking on the work of fatherhood are not limited to one box or biological relationship.
We are called to hold the complexity of fatherhood, not as a platitude but as a deep and meaningful series of relationships that inform and impact the human experience.
This Sunday morning, as we look at what it means to be Celebrating the Blessing of Diversity, we also are called to recognize the blessing of fatherhood in our lives and in celebrating the blessing father figures have been in our lives, and the lives of those around us.
We gather together, here this morning, in gratitude for the father figures in our lives who sustain us in our living, who love us no matter what.
We give gratitude for all those whose gift for fatherhood is so strong that they have allowed their caring to spill over into the lives of others providing the guidance and stability, the nurture and the love needed to bring others into full human potential.
We give gratitude for the ways that those in our lives who have offered fathering have been a source of growth, of support.
And yet, in this world, there is always both grief and joy in this day, for so many people.
We sit with the discomfort and distress that not all people given the moniker of father have been good fathers.
We offer love and compassion for those whose father has been a source of hurt and pain, for all those for whom one or more members of their family has caused them to suffer.
May they find the healing and support they seek in the world.
We hold space for those fathers who are separated from their children through life choices made by them or others.
May they find insight and wisdom, the courage and perseverance to parent in whatever creative and life-giving ways are open to them.
We hold space on this day to those parents who are under supported. People who struggle to provide all the emotional, physical and spiritual needs of their children.
May they find the strength, the courage and wisdom for their task.
We hold space for those fathers whose relationships with their children have been difficult or disappointing.
May they find healing and peace in their relationships.
We hold space for those whose father’s presence is greatly missed.
May we take time to gratefully recall all they have given to us, providing for us in our growing.
We hold space for those whose fathers have been recently lost
or who are facing the imminent loss of their own father.
May you find comfort in your grief,
hope in your despair,
courage in the love that their fathers have given them.
We hold space for those who have been denied a chance to be fathers, and for those whose years of parenting have been cut short by the loss of a child.
On this Fathers Day morning, we hold space for the complexity and depth of fatherhood.
And yet we offer thanks and celebration of the blessings of fatherhood.
For the many people who have taken their place as fathers with open hearts, with willingness and joy.
For the ways that fatherhood and the role of parent has been manifested in our lives for the better.
We give thanks this Father’s Day for the many ways that fatherhood gives life, joy, and richness to our lives.
Love Will Guide Us
Lyrics: Sally Rogers
Music: 19th Century English Hymn
Performed by Eva Riebold and Marilyn Day
The Closing Words are food for thought offered from a viral tweet by @RoseofWindsong.
Mainstream America accepts pride the same way they accept the Civil Rights Movement: only on the condition that it be framed as a celebration for a battle already won in which they were always blameless and not an ongoing struggle in which they are still very much the oppressors.
May we lean in to creating the complex space which holds celebration and struggle, may we actively support justice, not just as a story of what “has been” but as a hope for what could be.