LOVE CAUSES LOVE
There was no official Father’s Day until the thought came up in 1909. That certainly doesn’t mean that fathers didn’t love their children before that date or that children didn’t appreciate their fathers. That had always been the case. But it was Mrs. Sonora Dodd who first proposed the idea. She wanted to show her appreciation for the love that her father, William Smart, had shown to her. Creating a special day was her way of honoring her father.
Mr. Smart was a Civil War veteran who was widowed when his wife died as she was giving birth to their sixth child. He was forced to raise the baby and the other five children as a single parent on a farm in eastern Washington State. So on June 19, 1910, the first Father’s Day was celebrated in Spokane, Washington.
Interesting how love works. Parents love their children first, and then children return that love. The parents’ love comes first. Then the children respond. It is true that “love causes love.”
The same is true of our relationship with God. Before we loved God, he loved us first: “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). And it had to be that way. There was a time when we were not looking for God, but he found us with his love. Our sins made us anything but loveable. But in love, God gave his Son, Jesus, to suffer and die for them. God then adopted us and brought us into his family through the water of Baptism and the preaching of his Word.
The thought of Father’s Day had not occurred to Mrs. Dodd until she was an adult and understood her father’s selfless love and sacrifice throughout her life. Little children often don’t value their parents’ love. They may throw an occasional “I love you” at them, but more often they cry and criticize their parents and their love. We do that with God too. We often complain about the way he loves us and may even claim that he doesn’t really love us. But the older children get, the more they come to see how much their parents love them. The more we learn of God’s love for us, the more our love and respect for him will grow. But it doesn’t stop there. The love we have for God then can reflect in the way we love those around us.
Father’s Day will come and go again this year. That doesn’t give us reason to stop loving our fathers. In the same way, we continue to love our heavenly Father, who loved us first.
Pastor James A. Castillo