A Litany for Father’s Day

To you who have nurtured us, who have lived so that we might flourish and find life.

To you who have cared for our becoming, who have given of yourself to make our futures possible.

To you, our fathers, who co-labored us into being.

To you, our fathers, who adopted us as your own.

To you, our fathers by choice, who by your embodied action have loved all who have come into your life.

Congregation: We see you. We honor you. May God’s rich love surround you this day.

To you who know the pain of longing…

Who desired to be called father, but have never known that name.

Who have loved your children from afar.

Who have felt helpless to connect or felt themselves unworthy to know the name Dad.

Who long for the homecoming of a child who has chosen a pathway of pain.

Who are broken over the absence of a father who was or is unable to love you as you are.

Who yearn for the day when you will see your father again, whether you are separated now by death or by a broken relationship.

Congregation: We see you. We honor you. May God’s rich love hold you this day.

To you who have lost…

To you who have lost children and ache with grief:

whether before they were able to breathe outside of the womb,

whether your child left this earth too soon,

OR whether the loss is fraught with the ache of absence in the midst of their still being here on earth.

Congregation: We see you. We honor you. May God’s rich love comfort you this day.

To you…our fathers.

Our uncles

Our neighbors

Our grandfathers

Our teachers

Our leaders

Our healers

Our friends.

To you who fight

and nurture.

Who love

and pray.

To your beauty

To your complexity

To your vulnerability

and your power.

To your belovedness as ones made in the image of a loving God

In the midst of your pain and brokenness…

Longing for your joy and healing and wholeness.

Congregation: We see you. We honor you. May God’s rich love be yours this day.

To you who were taught that boys don’t cry…may the love of the Jesus who wept invite you into the heart of love and heal your scars.

To you who were taught to fear and fight and strive…may the love of Christ teach you the beauty of community that welcomes you back even when you have denied Christ three times.

To you whom we have refused to let be broken and vulnerable, may the Spirit breathe in and on you, bringing life into your bones to make you whole and human so that you might rise into the fullness of God’s image in you, discovering the gospel truth and promise: that it is through death that we discover life abundant and free…the hidden life that is yours already.

Congregation: We see you. We honor you. May God’s rich love surround you this day.

To our first father, Adam. To Joseph, who was the father of Jesus in the world.

To the men of our faith. To Abraham and Isaac. To Jacob and Esau. To Joseph and Moses. To Joshua. To men of prophetic truth like Nathan. To men of great love like Sampson. To men of great trust like Josiah. To Simeon and John the Baptist. To Saul and men whose eyes have been opened. To Peter who laid down his sword. To Timothy and the Ethiopian Eunuch. To men who changed their minds, who gave their lives, who laid everything on the line for a kingdom not of this world but of heaven.

To the men named and unnamed in Scripture, in our lives, and in our collective story.

Congregation: We see you. We honor you. We give God thanks for your life and legacy.

To the Sudanese father, to the grandfather in Columbia, to the father in North Korea, in Cambodia, in Congo, in Somalia, in the UAE, in North Minneapolis, in South Dakota, and in Iran. To fathers throughout history and all around the world who labor with them for the conditions of peace and the possibility of human flourishing.

To the fathers whose children will never return from war.

To those who seek to father us well even though they live with the legacy of trauma and war in their own lives.

To the fathers who face death to secure their children safe passage.

To those who have been unjustly imprisoned and have been rendered powerless to care for their family as they desire.

To the enslaved, the immigrant, the widower, and the refugee.

To the fathers who give their lives trying to make the world better for future generations.

Congregation: We see you. We honor you. May God’s rich love surround and uphold you this day.

And to you, oh God and Father of us all. (I Corinthians 8:6)

To you, the one who has fashioned all humanity in your image. (Gen 1:27)

To you, the God who brought us into being through your love; who abides in us as we abide in you. (I John 4, Deuteronomy 32:18, John 3:16)

To you, the one who teaches us to walk, feeds us, and leads us in kindness. (Hosea 11:3-4)

To you, the God to whom we can cry “Abba,” without fear, but trusting that you hear us. You who has adopted us as your own, who calls us your children. (Galatians 4:4-7, I John 3:1-3, John 1:12, Romans 8:15, John 1:12-14)

To you, the God and Father of all comfort who has compassion on us like a father for his children. (Psalm 103:13, Isaiah 66:13, 2 Cor. 1)

To you, oh God who reminds us of your care for us through your care for all creation. (Matthew 6:26 and Matthew 10:29-31)

To you, the God, who has looked for us as the father for his son who was lost, longing for his and our homecoming. (Luke 11:15-32)

To you, the Father of lights, who delights in giving us all good things that the kingdom brings (Luke 12:32, James 1:17)

To you, the Father of orphans and the protector of widows, who calls us to do the same. (Psalm 68:5 and 10:14, Deuteronomy 10:18, James 1:27)

To you, who rejoices when we come home again and/or re-remember the love and blessing that has always been ours. May we find you anew this day of celebration as you exclaim, with arms wide open, the words you have breathed on us since the beginning of time:

Congregation: “Welcome home, beloved.”

To you we run, to you we offer our hearts and lives. To you we give thanks, oh God and Father of all of us, praying in the vein that Christ, your son, has taught us:

Our Mother/Father, who art in heaven.

Hallowed be your name

Your kingdom come

Your will be done

On earth as it is in heaven

Give us this day our daily bread

And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors

And lead us not into temptation,

But deliver us from evil

For thine is the kindom**

And the power

And the glory.

Now and forever.



*Note: I wrote this litany in conversation with the litany I wrote last year for Mother’s Day, which you can read here.

**”Kindom” is the language I first learned from Dr. Ada Maria Isasi-Diaz, and it opened up to me a new way of understanding what God, in Christ, invites us to: the new way of being human isn’t actually a kingdom but truly a kin-dom where we are all returned to the right relationship with God, the earth, ourselves, and one another. The kin-dom of God is fundamentally the place of peace and shalom where we are all known and loved as God’s beloved ones.



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