|Dear Shiloh. Mystery Fans,|
With Fathers Day right around the corner, I thought it apropos to share an excerpt from my latest and the final story in the Shiloh Mystery series — Purgatory, A Progeny’s Quest. Although “fatherhood” is important throughout all three Shiloh novels, in Purgatory it is a central theme. Here is an excerpt from Chapter 25 as Shiloh celebrates Father’s Day from Chapter 25:…
After the choir marched down the center aisle and took their places behind Arnie on the platform, Hillary, Judy, Megan, and Pepper escorted the children into the sanctuary. Arnie stepped from his pulpit chair and sat among the youngsters on the platform steps. Jessie wriggled in Megan’s arms and cried out with his arms extended toward Andy sitting beside Pete on the front row. Pete smiled while Andy appeared caught between his urge to respond and Megan’s effort to distract Jessie.
Lizzie and Lucy Arians sat on either side of Arnie as he addressed the congregation. “The Bible declares that children are to obey and honor both their parents. Only last month we honored the mothers in our midst. So today it’s the fathers who are being so honored.” Arnie glanced at one-year-old Jessie and smiled at Andy. “Some fathers are just beginning to understand the daunting challenge ahead of them. For others here today, your children are now honoring you because they now have developed a growing appreciation of the love you have invested in them over their lifetime.”
Arnie winked at Hillary. “On this Father’s Day, I’d like to express as best as I can, as a father myself, why living up to the expectations our Heavenly Father has placed upon us isn’t always easy. To begin with, I believe it’s safe to say, there’s not a father in this room today who can declare they raised their children without any regrets along the journey. However, the love that grows between a caring father and his children serves as the salve that heals all wounds inflicted along the way. It’s also true, fathering a child does not make you a father. Becoming a father is one of choice, not a consequence.”
Liddy nudged me with her elbow and whispered, “Is Pepper crying?”
Arnie then said, “I’d like to take this time to suggest, if it’s possible, talk to your father today. Thank him for loving you. For those who are unable to talk to their father, remember that God’s your Heavenly Father. He promised to stand in the gap for those who lack a father’s love in their life. During our fellowship time, parents, please make room for your children to sit with you this morning. This is not a day to be separated.”
Marie Masterson stepped to the pulpit microphone. While she sang How Deep the Father’s Love for Us as Mary accompanied her, the children followed the choir members as they stepped off the platform and found seats with their families. When Marie finished, Arnie shared an embrace with her before she sat beside Pete at the end of our pew.
While Arnie reminded the church about the Cooperative Fellowship Music Jamboree next Saturday evening, I looked at Pepper who had squeezed in between Hank and Phillip. She hung onto every word Arnie said, holding Hank’s and Phillip’s hands.
When Arnie said, “Amen” to close the service, Pepper left her seat and gave Liddy and me hugs. During our embrace, I said, “Thank you for your special gift and card.”
Pepper’s eyes watered. “I may never know who my real father was, but I hope you don’t mind me saying that you’ve been an excellent father for me since I arrived.”
Hank offered his arm to Pepper and said, “We need to catch up to Hal across the street in City Hall. He’s waiting for us to go to dinner.”
WHAT DO YOU HAVE PLANNED FOR FATHER’S DAY THIS YEAR? HOW WILL YOU REMIND YOUR FATHER OR FATHER OF YOUR CHILDREN HOW VALUED AND IMPORTANT HE IS TO YOU?
Thanks for investing in the Shiloh Mystery novels.
T. M. “Mike” Brown