1 Thessalonians  5:11: “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”

The car hummed out of the church parking lot in the opposite direction of home. My dad exclaimed with false alarm that the car was driving itself. Oh no!  Where was it taking us?  He had no control over the steering wheel! From the back seat of the station wagon, we kids would squeal with delight!  We knew this routine well. The “car” was taking us out for ice cream after evening service.

This is a memory from childhood that I treasure. As I reflect back on childhood memories today on Father’s Day, I remember with deep gratitude events such as this. You may have your own cherished adventures that hold special meaning for you as you honor your own father. If so, we have much to celebrate today!  As a teacher, I became well aware of how many children do not have such memories. Dad is in prison or living in another state “with his new family”.  Fathers are sometimes in very short supply. 

To me, this is where church community steps in!  As siblings and parents in Christ, we have a duty to reach out to those younger than us within our church community and beyond. Just as today’s verse states, our mentoring and encouragement of those younger than us is one way to spread the love of Christ within our individual sphere of influence. What a difference we can make! 

Our daughters both share memories of older folk who loved on them in their church childhood. They loved “Miss Barb” from the nursery room who continued to shower them with attention long after they’d grown out of the nursery. They equally have memories of “Mr. Dick” who would give them the latest state quarter when that was a craze in our country.  And then there’s Swann and I, who cherished our friendship with Bud and Shirley here at St. John’s. They parented us in positivity and aging with grace and joy. We loved their attention of us and their friendly greeting every Sunday. Never feel that you don’t make a difference – both within our church community and beyond. Who can you parent?  Who can you encourage and build up?  Little thoughtful gestures create memories that last a lifetime.


Diana Kongkeattikul