A Father’s Love

What started as a grass roots effort became an incredible event – a Father Daughter dance was held in our community. The people who put it together worked very hard to make this a special night for the dads and daughters. Thank you so much to all of you who created this event. Thank you to all the sponsors for your commitment to our community. It was a wonderful evening. Thanks also to all the fathers who brought their daughters (and all the moms who helped with hair, dresses, ties and corsages – we would be lost without you).

Besides the great food and treats there was, of course, dancing. The D.J. knew his audience – and asked for their help singing a song he hoped they “knew”, and the room was filled with “Let It Go”. Then he asked the girls to go get their fathers, grandfathers, uncles or whatever man brought them to come onto the dance floor. He played one of those smaltzy songs usually reserved for the Father Daughter dance at the wedding reception and every dad looked into his daughter’s eyes with incredible love. I looked around and saw more than a few misty eyes, mine included.

As I looked around at all the beautiful young ladies and their fathers, and I felt my daughter hugging me, I was reminded of something. I love my daughter. I love her with an incredible love. I know that nothing can separate me from that love – that no matter what she does in the future, whatever mistakes she will make, whatever choices she may make against my wishes, I will always love her without question, for my daughter is a gift from my Loving Father, who loves me with the same kind of love.
Dads (and moms) – as you tuck your daughters (or sons) in tonight, look at them. Look at the precious miracles they are. And give God thanks.


The Uniform

This past Sunday I wore my clerical collar at worship.  I don’t usually do that, but was heading out to a hospital visit right after worship.  I like to wear my collar on hospital visits as it serves an important purpose – identifying me as clergy. 

Today this seems to be a controversial topic.  Many of my colleagues do not wear clericals, with the reason cited that we do not need to be identified as something special.  But that is not the reason I wear mine.  I wear it just as a security guard or nurse wears specific clothing to their profession.  It is about quick identification.

This started during my Clinical Pastoral Education in seminary.  For a summer I was stationed in a hospital setting learning pastoral care skills.  This hospital had a policy that every discipline had a specific uniform for identification purposes.  Chaplains wore a blue sweater.  It made total sense one night when I was called to the Emergency Room.   I walked in and even before identifying myself to the charge nurse, she said “Chaplain, room 5.  The man wants no treatment.”  I immediately knew what to do – go and pray as this man died.

Upon ordination and my call as pastor I began to wear the collar on hospital calls.  I can approach the desk at an emergency room and quickly get a lot of information on the sick congregation member.  Or when I am with a member, the staff gives me some time and space for prayer. 

But there is one more reason.  The collar gives strangers permission to approach me.  Because people recognize the collar as clergy, I have been asked to pray many times.  Most recent was this past Sunday when I was walking back to my car.  A couple exited their truck and asked me to pray for someone who just had an operation.  We stood there, hand in hand in the parking lot of the hospital praying.  It was one of those powerful Holy Spirit moments.  Had I been wearing an ordinary dress shirt and tie, nobody would have prayed with two people who really needed the peace of God which passes all understanding.

So yes I will continue to wear my collar.  And I will continue to get comments (some downright rude and nasty) from people, including my colleagues, because it announces to people that I serve Christ.  And that is far more important.

 Peace be with you,