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|Posted on June 16, 2013 at 6:52 PM||comments (0)|
Text: Psalm 103:13 “As a father shows compassion to his children, so the
Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.”
As I was praying and researching a message for Father’s Day I was excited to find a Father’s Day letter that was sent from a young man to his Father.
The protective arms of a father are essential for every child. In this Journal, I’ll do two major points, (1) a brief history of Father’s Day, and (2) what the Bible says about fathers. My objective is to challenge Christians to honor the earthly fathers in light of our heavenly Father. I’ll first begin with the brief history of this unique occasion.
A Brief History of Father’s Day
Despite the controversy in the theories of the origin and development of Father’s Day, most historians agree that Sonora Smart Dodd is credited as having been the founder of this historic day in 1910 in Spokane, Washington. Inspired by the success of Anna Jarvis in the promotion of Mother’s Day in the United States, Sonora started a Father’s Day campaign. She participated in the celebration of Mother’s Day, and after hearing a sermon on Jarvis’ mother, she decided to honor fathers. At the age of 27, Sonora planned to start by honoring her own father, Mr. Jackson Smart, a Civil War veteran. Her father had become a single parent when his wife Ellen died in childbirth, leaving him with five young boys to raise. Sonora was only 16 when her mother died. Mrs. Dodd began a rigorous campaign to celebrate Father's Day in the U.S. The Spokane Ministerial Association and the local Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) supported Sonora's cause. As a result Spokane celebrated its first Father's Day on June 19, 1910.
Prior to Sonora’s Father’s Day, other historians believe that the first Father’s Day service was held on “July 4, 1908 in Fairmont, West Virginia, in the Williams’ Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church South, now known as Central United Methodist Church. Grace Golden Clayton was mourning the loss of her father when, on December 1907, the Monongah Mining Disaster in nearby Monogah killed 361 men, 250 of them fathers.” Clayton’s campaign touched her pastor, Rev. Robert Thomas Webb. He had the service to honor those who died during the disaster. Grace selected the Sunday nearest to the birthday of her father, minister Fletcher Golden. This was considered the first Father’s Day.
Father’s Day Controversy
For a Father’s Day and Mother’s Day to have one single celebration was a major controversy that sparked out in the 1920s and 1930s. Therefore, a Parents’ Day was organized. On every Mother’s Day, pro-Parents’ Day groups rallied in New York City’s Central Park – "a public reminder,” said Parents’ Day activist and radio performer Robert Spere, “that both parents should be loved and respected together.” This debate continued for many years.
The Legalization of Father’s Day
Recognition of Father’s Day into law in the United States of America was a gradual process. The first bill introduced in Congress in 1913 failed. President Woodrow Wilson spoke at a Father’s Day celebration in Spokane. He intended to make it official, but Congress disagreed fearing the commercialization of the day. In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge recommended for Congress to make the day official, but that also failed. “In 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson issued the first presidential proclamation honoring fathers, designating the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day.” Finally, President Richard Nixon signed it into law in 1972. This law put to death the Parents’ Day Campaign to this day. Sonora Smart Dodd was honored for her contribution at the World's Fair in Spokane in 1974. She died in 1978 at age 96. Let’s hear what the Bible says about fathers.
What Bible Say about Fathers?
God ordained fatherhood (Gn 1:27, 5:2; Mt 19:4). Because of the importance of fatherhood, the word father is found 1, 573 times in 1,335 verses in the New International Version of 1984. I pray that God will speak to your hearts through His Word as you carefully read these Bible verses:
A Father’s Day celebration was motivated by the successful Mother’s Day initiated by Anna Jarvis in 1908. Most historians agree that Sonora Smart Dodd is the founder of this historic day in Spokane, Washington. The Parents’ Day opposition gained momentum in the 1920s and 1930s but died when Father’s Day was legalized in Congress, and signed into law by President Richard in 1972.
Thank you fathers for all that you do for your children. For those fathers who do not know where their children are, or have children who now have stepfathers, Paul writes, “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God” (Rom 8:14). I received an e-mail from Day Spring promoting its father’s day cards that reads, “The heart of a father is found in the heart of God. In order for a man to be the kind of father that his children need, a man must understand what kind of father God is to his children.”
Happy Father’s Day!
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