It’s Father’s Day and we visit our fourth Baptist church in ten weeks. Like two of the others, this one is both a small congregation and an older congregation. They’re friendly and welcoming, but an absence of younger people points to a bleak future. Despite efforts to keep the facility nice, there remains subtle reminders of its age and neglect.

At the start of the service, the minister announces things will not proceed as intended. A small technical glitch has large ramifications. The retractable screen over the baptismal is in the up position and refuses to lower. Three segments of the service rely on overhead projection, including a recorded interview, which, based on the bulletin, I suspect was the focal point of the service. However, had the minister not mentioned this, I wouldn’t have known the difference; the pastor makes adjustments smoothly, with a meaningful service unfolding despite this problem. There’s a book for each dad, which we must go forward to receive, but I’d gladly forgo the gift in order to avoid the attention.

The pastor’s message is “a brief tribute to our Heavenly Father.” The minister reads sections of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. “God always responds to our prayers.” Sometimes it’s with a “yes,” sometimes with “wait,” and other times with “no.” But regardless of the answer, it’s always for our own good.

This is an important Father’s Day message, one that gremlins cannot thwart. We all have a Heavenly Father who is good and perfect, giving us exactly what is in our best interest.

[Read about Church #9 and Church #11, start at the beginning of our journey, or learn more about Church #10.]

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