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Morning Worship for Father's Day 
 

A Poem for Celebrating Father’s Day
He never looks for praises, he’s never one to boast,
He just goes on quietly working for those he loves the most.
His dreams are seldom spoken, his wants are very few and most of the time his worries will go unspoken too.
He’s there…a firm foundation through all the storms of life, a sturdy hand to hold, in times of stress and strife. A true friend we can turn to when times are good or bad, one of our greatest blessings that man we call Dad.  By Karen K. Boyer

The Greeting

Grace, mercy and peace
from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ
be with you
And also with you.

This is the day that the Lord has made.
Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Faithful one, whose word is life:
come with saving power
to free our praise,
inspire our prayer
and shape our lives
for the kingdom of your Son,
Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Prayers of Penitence

What God has prepared for those who love him,
he has revealed to us through the Spirit;
for the Spirit searches everything.
Therefore, let us in penitence open our hearts to the Lord,
who has prepared good things for those who love him.         cf 1 Corinthians 2.9

Lord God,
we have sinned against you;
we have done evil in your sight.
We are sorry and repent.
Have mercy on us according to your love.
Wash away our wrongdoing and cleanse us from our sin.
Renew a right spirit within us
and restore to us the joy of your salvation;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

 Absolution

May the God of love and power
forgive us and free us from our sins,
heal and strengthen you by his Spirit,
and raise us to new life in Christ our Lord
Amen.

The Collect

Almighty God,
you have broken the tyranny of sin
and have sent the Spirit of your Son into our hearts
whereby we call you Father:
give us grace to dedicate our freedom to your service,
that we and all creation may be brought
to the glorious liberty of the children of God;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Amen.

Praise

Through Christ let us offer our sacrifice of praise to God
Let our lips proclaim his praise

O come, let us sing to the Lord; let us heartily rejoice in the rock of our salvation.
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving and be glad in him with psalms.
For the Lord is a great God

and a great king above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth

and the heights of the mountains are his also.
The sea is his, for he made it,

and his hands have moulded the dry land.
Come, let us worship and bow down

and kneel before the Lord our Maker.
For he is our God;

we are the people of his pasture and the sheep of his hand.
Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and shall be for ever.

Amen.

Readings

Old Testament Reading: Deuteronomy 1:26-33
But you were unwilling to go up. You rebelled against the command of the Lord your God; 27 you grumbled in your tents and said, “It is because the Lord hates us that he has brought us out of the land of Egypt, to hand us over to the Amorites to destroy us. 28 Where are we headed? Our kindred have made our hearts melt by reporting, ‘The people are stronger and taller than we; the cities are large and fortified up to heaven! We actually saw there the offspring of the Anakim!’” 29 I said to you, “Have no dread or fear of them. 30 The Lord your God, who goes before you, is the one who will fight for you, just as he did for you in Egypt before your very eyes, 31 and in the wilderness, where you saw how the Lord your God carried you, just as one carries a child, all the way that you travelled until you reached this place. 32 But in spite of this, you have no trust in the Lord your God, 33 who goes before you on the way to seek out a place for you to camp, in fire by night, and in the cloud by day, to show you the route you should take.”

Gospel Reading: Luke 15:11-24
Then Jesus said, “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the property that will belong to me.’ So he divided his property between them. 13 A few days later the younger son gathered all he had and travelled to a distant country, and there he squandered his property in dissolute living. 14 When he had spent everything, a severe famine took place throughout that country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed the pigs. 16 He would gladly have filled himself with the pods that the pigs were eating; and no one gave him anything. 17 But when he came to himself he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired hands have bread enough and to spare, but here I am dying of hunger! 18 I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me like one of your hired hands.”’ 20 So he set off and went to his father. But while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him. 21 Then the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly, bring out a robe—the best one—and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 And get the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; 24 for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!’ And they began to celebrate.

Homily:

One day Jesus told a story that is probably the most appreciated story in the entire Bible.
It has come to be known as the “Parable of the Prodigal Son.” Although the word prodigal does not appear anywhere in the Bible.

What would be your reaction if one of your children came to you, thumbing his nose at you, demanding that you give him total freedom and his fair share to finance his rebellion? That’s a tough one, isn’t it?

It was not unusual for a Jewish father to distribute his estate before he died if he wished to retire from the actual management of his business affairs. Under the law, there was a clear delineation of his financial responsibilities. The older son must get two-thirds and the younger son one-third. But there is a certain demanding attitude, is there not, on the part of this younger son? He is saying, “Life is too short for me to wait for you to die or to retire. I am going to get it anyway. Give it to me now. I’m bored. I’m hemmed in. I want out!”

The father could have said no. He could have tried to blackmail him, telling him how much more he would have in the long run if he stayed around home.He could have played the comparison game, saying, “Why aren’t you a good son like your older brother? What are you trying to do, break your mother’s heart?” You know those little games we play!

He knew their strengths and weaknesses. He was prepared to let this young man be an adult. After all, he himself was human. He had had a father who had raised him. He had his own individual sibling rivalries with his brothers and sisters. He knew the feeling of being compared. He knew what it was to want to be his own person. And he knew what it was to rebel.

We don’t know the nature of his rebellion. We don’t know much about his past. Perhaps he at one time had been a prodigal. He wasn’t perfect. He knew that God, in His creative design, had not made human persons robots who function as mechanical men and women. To be created human was to have freedom to obey or to disobey.

This model father had respect for the individual autonomy of each of his sons. So, without preaching a doomsday sermon, he divided his estate. He gave his son what he wanted, and he bid him farewell.

He could have played a manipulative game. He could have assigned one of his servants to shadow the rebellious kid, carrying various disguises, going wherever he went, making certain he had no idea he was there, keeping an eye on him and then reporting back what was going on, letting him know if things went well or if things went poorly. At the first sting of homesickness, he could have had him reminded of his mother’s hot chicken soup and the fact that there is always plenty of work here at home.

No, this father won’t stand in the way of consequences. He is not in the business of premature rescue. As much as his heart is breaking, and he knows that there is trouble ahead, he lets go.
I ask you and I ask myself: Is this the kind of father; is this the kind of mother we are? Are we willing to faithfully teach and model? Do we respect the autonomy of our children as they come of age? Are we willing to let them walk away from us, no longer nurtured and controlled by us, but free to live in a tough, hard world unprotected?

The reality is we haven’t got much choice.
If we don’t let them go, they are going to rebel anyway, aren’t they? How much better to take the initiative and say, “Hey, this is your life. I’ve done the best I can. It hasn’t been that good at some points. You know my weaknesses and my mistakes. Forgive me for them. It’s your life. You know what I believe. I am willing to cut the strings of control. You are free to be who you choose to be, to do what you choose to do, and live with the consequences. You know I love you, and I always will. I may not have always handled you correctly, and I will make my mistakes in the future. But I am your dad.”
With a big hug and perhaps a few tears, we are prepared to send them off to seek their own fortune, to face whatever may be the consequences-positive, negative, or in between.

The model father has a love that refuses to give up.
We are patient up to a point. We have hope up to a point. We are willing to be tolerant up to a point. We cannot force them to show us honour.

We are called to faithfulness, the same faithfulness that is given by the father in this story. Just imagine how the plot would change if the father took the attitude of, “Okay, this is the way my son wants to have it. I’ll go along with it. I think it’s dumb. He’s making a terrible mistake. He is entitled to do it. That’s it. But he better never come back here again. I’m done with that ungrateful kid.”
Instead we see the father faithfully carrying out his ongoing responsibilities. He is not chasing after the prodigal. But he is daily aware of his breaking heart.
It’s important for us to learn how to live with a broken heart.
Jesus said, “In this world, you will have trouble. Take courage, I have overcome the world.”
There is a realistic candour in the biblical teachings.
We are alerted to the reality of life. None of us is free from trouble.
We are called to continue doing what God has called us to do, while at the same time, we are privileged to scan the horizon just hoping for that reunion with the rebel.

Somehow, I am never able to rid myself of the picture of that father who, as he worked his field, was constantly scanning the horizon.
Jesus alerts us of that fact. For He says, “But while he was yet at a distance, his father saw him and had compassion and ran and embraced him and kissed him”
His was a love that refused to give up.
The father in Jesus’ story avoids a vindictive attitude. Instead, love explodes within him.
He has compassion. He runs, embraces his son, kisses him.

Jesus had a very interesting way of bringing this story to a conclusion.
It ends with the father’s response to the elder brother’s sneering accusation that there had never been a party for him but that this no-good brother who had devoured the father’s hard-earned money with harlots ends up getting the fatted calf killed in his honour.
What’s the father’s response?
He acknowledges the faithfulness of the older brother.
He makes no demands for performance on the younger brother. Life goes on.
None of us knows the future, do we? Being a father, being a mother has no sealed and signed guarantees. We are called to live with the ambiguity which is built into relationships.
The model father accepts this as a fact of life and moves on, faithfully doing and being what God has called him to do and be, no matter what the significant others in his life choose to do and be.

Our final reward isn’t the privilege of sitting back and saying, “Wasn’t I a good father?” Granted, we’ll have some joys that come from the hoped-for friendship with our children.
But the final reward will be when the real model father, God himself, looks us in the eye and says, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant. Enter into your eternal rest.”

Remember that the model is God. You and I are not God. We are not perfect.
The key is that we are willing to say, “We are sorry,” when we are wrong.
It does not matter if you are a church Dad or not……God wants a relationship with you just the same as the Father and prodigal son.

We can often go off track…I know I did for nearly 30 years…but God is always there…always waiting……scanning the horizon for us…to welcome us home.
He wants us to talk to him, sit with him, ask questions of him, shout at him, love him. He wants to give us advice too.

God wants to walk with you no matter whether you come to church or not….he just wants to put his arm around you and enjoy your kinship.
Dad’s no matter what age we are,  you can ask these questions of God your Father anytime.
You see that God is Father to us all….…..and rest assured that God our Father …..actually does know everything.

                                                                      By Alan Strachan (LLM)

A Prayer for Fathers
We give our thanks, Creator God, for the fathers in our lives.
Fatherhood does not come with a manual, and reality teaches us that some fathers excel while others fail. We ask for Your blessings for them all – and forgiveness where it is needed. This Father's Day we remember the many sacrifices fathers make for their children and families, and the ways – both big and small – they lift children to achieve dreams thought beyond reach.
So too, we remember all those who have helped fill the void when fathers pass early or are absent – grandfathers and uncles, brothers and cousins, teachers, pastors and coaches – and the women of our families.
For those who are fathers, we ask for wisdom and humility in the face of the task of parenting. Give them the strength to do well by their children and by You.
In Your Holy name, O God, we pray.
Amen.

Afirmation of faith

Let us declare our faith in God.
We believe in God the Father,
from whom every family
in heaven and on earth is named.
We believe in God the Son,
who lives in our hearts through faith,
and fills us with his love.
We believe in God the Holy Spirit,
who strengthens us
with power from on high.
We believe in one God;
Father, Son and Holy Spirit.                      
cf Ephesians 3                                
Amen.                                                   

Prayers of Intercession

Gracious God, fountain of all wisdom,
we pray for all Christian people;
for Bishop James and Simon, for all Christian leaders,
and for those who teach and guard the faith …
May the word of Christ dwell richly in our hearts,
and knit us together in the bond of your love.
Hear us, good Lord.

We pray for the leaders of the nations,
and for those in authority under them …
Give them the gift of your wisdom,
and a right discernment in all things.
Hear us, good Lord.

We pray for our … (city/town/village/community);
for those who live and work here,
and for those who visit this place …
Speak your word of peace in our midst,
and help us to serve one another as Christ has served us.
Hear us, good Lord.

We pray for those who do not believe,
and yet who long to know you, the very Word of life …
Open their ears to hear your voice,
and open their hearts to the knowledge
of your love in Christ.
Hear us, good Lord.

We pray for those bowed down with grief,
fear or sickness, especially …
May your living Word bring comfort and healing
to all those in need.
Hear us, good Lord.

We give thanks for all those who have died in the
faith of Christ and we rejoice with all your saints,
trusting in the promise of your word fulfilled.
Lord of life,
hear our prayer, and make us one in heart and mind
to serve you with joy for ever.
Amen.

The Lord's Prayer

Gathering our prayers and praise into one, let us pray as our Saviour taught us
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and for ever.
Amen.

Conclusion

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.                           cf Colossians 3.16,17

Faithful one, whose word is life:
come with saving power
to free our praise,
inspire our prayer
and shape our lives
for the kingdom of your Son,
Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
In the name of Christ. Amen.

 

 

New Patterns for Worship, Common Worship material from
which is included here, is copyright © The Archbishops' Council 2002


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