I sat in church last Sunday morning ready to receive a great Word as I always do to get my week started. This particular Sunday was Children’s Day and, admittedly, not one of my favorites (but I still love the babies). I expected the pastor to give a sermon for the kids since so many of them were in the audience looking up at him bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. He, in fact, did talk to the kids about many things including the importance of honoring both of your parents.
“But I don’t know my daddy,” the little girl sitting next to me whispered to her mother. She gave her a stern look and the young lady immediately turned back around and stopped talking. The pastor went on preaching and spoke of how next Sunday at church would be Father’s Day, so on this day we would honor all of the single mothers in the sanctuary. The pastor ended his sermon by asking all single mothers to walk to the altar with their child or children. I watched in horror as almost half of the audience stood up and crowded around the altar. Many of the mothers–some young, some old, some way too young–stood with their arms wrapped around their children with tears streaming down their faces as the pastor prayed over them and expressed how hard he knew it was to raise their children alone. However, what really caught me by surprise was when he asked all the children in particular to listen to what he was about to say:
“As you grow older,” the pastor told them, “You’ll be faced with many decisions. It’ll start with simple things like should you study for that test or play video games. Then it will grow into bigger decisions like who you surround yourself with, constantly making the decision to be a good person or being kind to people. Life isn’t always going to be fair, but remember this: Just because someone (your father) is absent from your life doesn’t give you the right to make bad decisions as an adult especially when you know right from wrong. “