Friday, June 14, 2013

Father's Day: An Awkward Day for Me This Year.

LD Cannon circa 1947
 "How do you feel about Father's Day?" would be a hard question to answer for me this year.
This coming Sunday is Father's Day. I have a lot of mixed emotions about Father's Day this year, and quite frankly, I am having a little trouble processing it all.

First, I am coming to grips with the fact that this is the first Father's Day since my dad passed away.  (Reference my earlier blog from November honoring my dad at his passing.) The last part of his life he suffered dew to Parkinson's disease. Because of his suffering, in a way, I felt relief, knowing his suffering was ended. Although he and I were distant geographically, we were very close all my life. But I can't call him tomorrow to wish him a Happy Father's Day. Albeit I know Heaven is a happier place this year with him there. So, this year I join the ranks of those remembering dad en absentia.

What makes Father's Day a little unique for me is the path of fatherhood I have chosen. We have six children; all adopted: all at different ages. Our first daughter we adopted at birth. We later adopted a sibling group of three; ages nine to twelve, the later, two sisters ages nine and thirteen. Each of these children bring a different perspective to Mother's Day and Father's Day. They are all old enough to have memories of biological parents, so they bring their own perspective to Father's Day. It is a hard day for some of them. 

Holidays were always a little awkward at our house; each family member coping with the reminder of what was lost. It was seldom spoken in those terms by most of us, but we all felt it. That idea of, "What if things were different?" was always there. My wife and I had a truly monumental task of bringing "normal" to the mix. (Please do not tell me what saints we are for what we did. We saw an opportunity to give something we had to give, with no guarantee it would be accepted or appreciated. We did what we could to make a difference.)

Those children are now ages twenty two to thirty. Some have reunited with their bio-families, but all still keep in touch with us. They still love us, and still call us "Mom and Dad." But that title means something different to all of them. When my kids left home I gave them all the same two statements. First, "I will always be here, and I'll always be dad." Second, "You, as an adult will now chose how close a relationship we have. I will not chase you down. I will not hover. If you choose to be close, I'm here and grateful for it. If you are distant, I'll be right where you left me. If you come back in later years, we will pick up where we left off." 

Of course, the response to that statement is as varied as the children themselves. It even varies with each  child with time. Some are close, some not so much. Some close for awhile, then distant, and back again. Today we are all on good terms. I love them all dearly, and can honestly say I don't have a favorite. (This will certainly be disputed should my children read this, but oh well.) I am proud of what they have all achieved, and I tell them so every chance they give me. Chances are, I will hear from most of them on Sunday; either with a gift, by phone call, card or text message. I will be grateful for what I get. 

To top it off, my wife and I are now foster parents and have three little boys in out home ages two to four! They are, in their young minds dealing with their own definition of family. It is a sad but present part of our culture. Again, my beloved bride and I are just trying to do what we can.

With this back story, I anticipate a very emotional Father's Day. All I ever wanted to be was a husband, a father and a pastor; in that order. These three titles are the only ones that matter to me. It has never been what I anticipated. Before taking custody of the three sibs their foster mother asked me, "Mr. Cannon do you have any idea what you're getting yourself into!!??" I replied, "No ma'am, I don't. But neither do they. We'll just have to figure it out as we go." I'm not sure I ever figured it all out, but I'm glad for their sakes that we tried. I guess that's fatherhood. Figuring it out as you go; looking the men who filled that roll for you while figuring out. 

I hope Father's Day is a happy day for you. I hope those of you who still have your dads present will draw close to them and linger. If, like me, your dad is no longer present, I pray you find comfort in his memory and what he instilled in you while you had him. If you are one who's dad chose not to be in the picture, I hope you find the strength and courage to be in the picture for others. It's what you can do. 

Just a thought. Thank you for reading.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

A Pastor's Thoughts on the Resurrection

A Pastor's Thoughts on the Resurrection

For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
1 Cor. 15; ,3, 4

 Today is Easter Sunday. This day has been called the Prince of Sundays. It is called that because is it on this day that we commemorate the resurrection of the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ. How important is the resurrection? Why is it significant that Christ died for our sins, then rose again? Some theologians and scholars have downplayed the importance of the resurrection.     
So, what is the resurrection? What is its importance?

    The resurrection is the key to all we as born again Christians hold dear. The resurrection is key to our salvation. Without the resurrection we have a savior on the cross. Without the resurrection we have a King in the grave. Without the resurrection our hope lies in a crypt; our confidence rests in a coffin. Our defense is in one who is defeated, and our protection in one held captive.
    How can the dead offer life to the living? How can the tomb hold the key to redemption? Truly, outside of the cross of Calvary we must toil and sacrifice to a vengeful God with little hope of mercy. And truly, outside of the resurrection we must bow to a religious system that relegates our relationship with God to little more than ancestor worship. Without blood there is no remission, and without the victory there is not spoil.

    But, as the angel in Luke 24 ; 2 asked, "Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but He is risen." He is risen. Those words turn a cross into an alter. Those words turn a sacrifice into a Savior. "He is risen!" Those words shake the gates of Hell, open the windows of Heaven, bring peace to the cursed Earth and make the grave into a pleasant place to wait for the resurrection.
    "He is risen" turns wrath to mercy.
    "He is risen" turns death to life.
    "He is risen" turns judgment to grace.
    "He is risen" turns fear into hope.

Because of the resurrection we can look to the cross and be saved by one who conquered Hell for us. Because of the resurrection we can face the grave holding the hand of one who defeated death and the grave. Because of the resurrection, Hells dread is turned to Heavens hope. 

    In that we now have the confidence given us by the resurrection of Christ, we rest in the confidence of our resurrection in the last day. Easter Sunday is our day. It is resurrection Sunday. Rest in it; joy in it; celebrate in the day of His resurrection. The glory of the cross and the hope of the resurrection are in Him. "He is risen."