This is my column in today’s Greenville News, for Father’s Day.   Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there!  God bless you in the most important work of your life; for to be a true father is to emulate the Father in heaven.

https://www.greenvilleonline.com/article/20100620/OPINION/306200027/Ed-Leap-Who-do-modern-fathers-lift-children-up-to-see

Greenville recently hosted the Greenville Scottish Festival. My family was there, as usual; not because we’re Scots, but because my son Seth plays the bagpipe. He’s an excellent piper, and I’m always proud to see him march and hear him play. We had our usual grand time together. But this was a very special event. As you probably know, Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, son of Queen Elizabeth II, was in attendance.

We don’t get a lot of royalty around here. So it was a special treat for His Royal Majesty to be there, in the downtown parade and at the games at Furman University, and to watch him make the rounds, shaking hands and chatting. My family and I were no more than three feet from him as he passed by, looked at us and with a kind smile said ‘Good Morning!’

At that point, it was on. My daughter Elysa, age 9, had to follow him. ‘Papa, lift me up! Let’s go in front of him! I want to see him again! Can I talk to him?’ So, hoisted on my shoulders, I darted and dashed and moved through the crowd, trying to get in front of him. We were pretty close, but still behind when we finally stopped. Elysa said, ‘I wanted to just slip up and poke him to get his attention!’ I suggested that, based on the large Scotland Yard Security officer standing nearby, it might be a bad idea and might result in her father getting pummeled by a very nice, very burly guy with a pleasant accent.

So, he walked on and we walked back to the rest of our wee clan, where our boys were, as usual, leering at swords. It was an exciting time, and the weather was perfect; cool, overcast, with a threat of rain. Much like summer in Scotland, as one of the guests pointed out.

Later, I looked back and tried to think of ways that Elysa might have gotten closer. Ways I could have planted her in front of Prince Edward for the handshake that might have made a special memory for my own little princess. As her father, it’s my job to expose her to wonder and delight.

So this Father’s Day, I envision those following Jesus, who lifted their children to see him, who brought their broken, sick, even dead ones into his care. As he passed, they sensed more than his regal demeanor. They were infected by his love; they were overwhelmed by his spirit, pierced by his words, transfixed by his truth and bathed by his glance. I imagine many a father hoisting his son or daughter to his shoulder, racing around to put them in front of the Rabbi, the healer, the one who loved children and offered truth. Whether or not they realized who he wasthey knew the children would benefit from the Lord’s very presence.

I wonder, who do we modern fathers lift our children up to see? Do we lift them to see spoiled music superstars? Do we carry them frantically in front of inevitably fallible politicians? Do we rush to place them before entitled athletes? Or the sullied stars of mediocre television? Literally or not, we hold our children up to many things, and many people, who are not worthy of their innocent adoration.

How much better if we hold them up to Jesus! If we commit ourselves to prayer and Bible reading at home. If we discuss our faith in the car, on vacation, over dinner. If we follow his guidance in the way we love, teach and heal! If we in the Bible Belt, in allegedly Christian America, believe all of this is true, Jesus, Messiah, God made man for our sins, then there is no single thing, no single person of more import than Him, and no person or thing before which we may place our children without damaging them, demeaning them, making them worship the created, not the Creator. The only right thing we can do is to carry them and place them before the only one who ever deserved our bent knees; the only King ever truly worthy of the title.

Elysa may have missed a handshake with a prince because I was not clever enough, fast enough, tall enough or bold enough. But I will continue to hold her up, along with her mother and brothers, before the King. I think that’s the best thing I can offer them in the end.

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