Father’s Day, 6.18.2017
For AK —
Who learned what a father should be by coming to know God,
And so helped his son know God by being everything a father should be:
Three translations by SK —
Who recognised God when he met Him
Because, thanks to AK, he knew a Good Father when he saw one.
You muttered in your tents and you said, ‘in his hatred for us God drove us out of Egypt’s land, so he could hand us over to the Amorite — to obliterate us.
‘Where are we going up? Our brothers made our hearts melt; they said, ‘their kingdom is bigger, exalted above us; their cities are huge, armored up to the sky, and we’ve even seen the sons of Anakim there.’
But I said to you, ‘stop your trembling, don’t be afraid of them.
‘The Lord your God, the one who walks ahead of you, he’s the one who’ll fight for you, just like everything he did for you in Egypt, before your eyes.
‘And in the desert, as you saw, how the Lord your God carried you — the way a father picks up his son and carries him, all along the road you went down, right up to when you came to this spot.’
He said, ‘there was a man had two sons.
‘And the younger of them said to his father, “father, give me my share of the estate.” So he carved up his livelihood for them.
‘And not too many days later the younger son took it all with him and moved out of town into a big district, and there he scattered his inheritance to the winds by living irresponsibly.
‘When he had wasted it all there was a mighty famine throughout that district, and he started to feel what he lacked.
‘And he went to latch onto one of the citizens of that district, who sent him into the fields to take care of his pigs.
‘And he was desperate to feed on the pods the pigs were eating, and no one gave him anything.
‘But when he came back to himself he said, “how many of my father’s hired hands must have more bread than they know what to do with, and here I am dying of hunger like this.
‘“I’ll get up and go to my father and I’ll say to him, ‘father, I sinned against heaven and in your sight —
‘“‘I’m not worthy to be called your son anymore. Make me like one of your hired hands.’”
‘So he got up and went to his father. But when he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming, and felt pity deep in his gut and ran, falling on his neck to cover him with kisses.
‘The son said to him, “father, I sinned against heaven and in your sight — I’m not worthy to be called your son anymore.”
‘But the father said to his servants, “quick, bring out our best robe, and clothe him in it. Give him a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet,
‘“And bring the calf we’ve been fattening up, slaughter it, and we’ll relish eating it.
‘“Because this man, my son — he was dead and he came back to life. He was gone and he’s been found.” And they started to enjoy themselves.
‘But his other son, the older one, was in the field. And on his way back as he got close to the house, he heard choirs and a band.
‘And calling over one of the slaves he tried to find out what it could possibly be.
‘And he said to him that “your brother came, and your father slaughtered the calf we’ve been fattening up, because he’s got him back in one piece.”
‘He was enraged and refused to go inside. So his father came out and cajoled him.
‘But he talked back and said to his father, “look, for so many years I’ve served you and I never once went against your command, and you never even gave me so much as a goat so I could enjoy myself with my friends.
‘“But when this son of yours, who devoured your livelihood with whores, when he comes you slaughter the fattened calf for him?”
‘He said to him, “child. You’re with me at every moment, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and enjoy ourselves, because this brother of yours was dead and came back to life; and he was gone and he’s been found.”’
And let righteous men be glad, let them rejoice in the sight of God, let them delight in their joy.
Sing to God. Hymn his name. Exalt the one who rides the chariot of the sky, the one whose name is the Lord — rejoice in his sight.
Father of the fatherless, defender of widows: God in his holy dwelling.