Today is Father’s Day, 2015, and just like every church in Christendom (or at least in the US, anyway), our local Methodist Church honored fathers with several of the Father songs in the hymnal, and a sermon about Joseph being the pattern for a godly father/step-father. Routine fare, done once every year.
But this Father’s Day had a tragic lead-in: Charleston.
As Methodists, we have full fellowship with the African Methodist-Episcopal denomination, and our brothers and sisters in Christ were hit and hurting. Come to think of it, all of us are. Every time something like this happens, it boggles the mind. “How can something like this happen?”, we ask, as if we believe that people aren’t capable of such evil.
But Alexander Solzhenitsyn knew where evil is:
“If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?”
~ The Gulag Archipelago
Rest assured, this is not a harangue about sin and depravity. This morning’s service gave me an an edelweiss, a surprise of joy and encouragement. As I said, for Father’s Day, various “Father” songs were gathered for the congregation to sing during morning worship, and one was the old hymn, This Is My Father’s World.
If you are like me, you know the first verse of many of the hymns in the hymnal, but maybe aren’t that familiar with 3rd, 4th or 5th verses. Anyway, I found myself “strangely warmed” (I am a Methodist, after all) when I read the third verse as we sang:
This is my Father’s world.
O let me ne’er forget
that though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the ruler yet.
Yes, there is evil in this world, and, yes, the battleline of good and evil runs through the heart of every man and woman. But evil did not create this world. God, Who is Love, created this world, and in spite of all the evil we are capable of, this is His world, not ours.