Today in our “book of faith – Lenten Journey” we looked at the word, Father. What does Father mean to you? What does the phrase “Our Father” mean?
Father, I guess I have been blessed, I have no problem thinking of God as an ever loving, just, merciful Father.
Others, well, not so much. Many people have issues with their earthly fathers, some petty, some huge and they say these issues get in the way of understanding God as Father.
My father, my dad… is not perfect, he would be the first one to admit this, but all in all, I have a great dad, no real complaints, no issues (that I know if anyway!). But I don’t confuse my dad, as wonderful and well meaning as he is, with God. He, like me is a pastor, and I don’t even think I confused him with God or Jesus. It happens to pastors I know. One day a 4 or 5 year old pointed at me just before a wedding ceremony and I heard him ask his mom if I was God. She told him no, and shushed him… a little later he said, “is that Jesus?” Again he was shushed. After the wedding was over he came up to me and looked at me and said: “you are a pastor!” True enough, but my demotion came pretty fast, but I am alright with that, because I don’t need or want anyone to confuse me with God or Jesus!
I also know that God is not restricted to human limitations. After all both male and female are created in God’s image so I don’t get hung up on the title Father, in some ways it is way too limiting. But it is the word that Jesus used. Maybe Jesus used this term because we can wrap our heads around that term, it is a relational term and God is big into relationships. Or maybe it was because he knew that our earthly fathers and others we are in relationship with, often fall short and we need to understand the length and breath of Gods love for us and in this relational term we find our example as fathers, mothers, children, friends and neighbors.
Don’t get me wrong I am not denying the struggles that some people have with their fathers, but I hope that we can look beyond those examples to the ultimate example of sacrfical love for us in the one who Jesus called “Abba” Father.