Pastoral Letter for Wed. 24th June:

My Dear Friends,

Last Sunday was Father’s Day. I hope as many families as possible were able to get together in these abnormal times. Father’s Day called to mind a lovely and moving little incident from my wife’s teaching career. Liz was Head of Early Years in an Edinburgh school for girls. Play is a most important part of a child’s development. The classroom had a hospital corner set up, and some of the little girls were arguing about the roles they wanted to play. All the girls wanted to be nurses and no one wanted to be a doctor or a patient. One small girl, whose father was a distinguished Edinburgh heart surgeon, was being told that she should be a doctor because her father was a doctor. She became quite annoyed at this and responded: “My Daddy is NOT a doctor. My Daddy mends broken hearts!”

Ernest Hemingway once wrote a story about a Spanish boy named Paco who had become estranged from his father. His father searched for him everywhere; and in a last desperate attempt to find his son, placed an ad in the daily newspaper. The ad read: “Paco, meet me at the Hotel Montana on Tuesday at noon. All is forgiven. Papa.”

When, on Tuesday at noon, the father arrived at the hotel he couldn’t believe his eyes. An entire squadron of police officers had been called out in an attempt to keep order among eight hundred young boys. Each of them was named Paco; and each had come to meet his respective father and find forgiveness, acceptance and reconciliation.

Paco is a very common Spanish name; and just as there are many Pacos in Spain, so there are innumerable prodigal sons and daughters in the world needing a sense of belonging.

In the Book of Hosea at chapter 11 God says: “When Israel was a child I loved him. How can I give you up, Israel? How can I abandon you? My heart will not let me do it. My love for you is too strong.”

God, our Heavenly Father, never gives up on us. Still he waits for us. Persistently he searches for us; and longs for us to come home. He loves us, forgives us, restores us, and offers us his peace and joy. He mends our hearts. His invitation to come home still stands.

Liz joins me in sending our love to you all.