Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Our Father Which Art in Heaven--Linden Malki

We are so familiar with the phrase "Our Father in Heaven" that I never realized before that it is not found in the Old Testament--and it is in over 30 places in the New Testament. The closest I could find before Jesus is when Moses calls the Israelites "children of God" in Deuteronomy 14, and Isaiah, praising God in chapters 63 and 64, says "You are our Father..".

Jesus, on the other hand, constantly refers to God as Father, starting early in His minstry (and scandalizing the religious establishment). After all, God invented fathers! Think about our own fathers (or the fathers we may wish we had had) at their very best, loving us, teaching us, protecting us, providing for us, and all the other ways that they took care of us and gave us a good example to live up to. I think about how I wanted my own dad to approve of me and be pleased with the person I was growing up to be, and how I did not want to disappoint him. I remember my nephew and I knee-deep in a cold Montana creek learning how to cast a fly and land a trout. My brothers and I were blessed to learn basic building skills growing up as Dad's apprentices. And I remember Dad's constantly reaching out to people--Mom used to say that he could get anyone's life history in 20 minutes.

And then think about the magnitude of difference between our earthly fathers and our Creator. We read of Jesus' relationship with his Father, and are overwhelmed at his invitation to us to call God our Father. And even though we can sense the presence of God here, through His Spirit, He is not limited to our space. We hear talk of the God within us, and the God in Nature, but this image of God isn't anywhere nearly big enough. When Jesus said "Our Father, which art in Heaven", He is talking of a God who is greater than all of time and space, but still has the time to relate to each of us as the individual He created. He offers to enable us to become the person He created us to be if we are willing to follow His Son into His Presence.

(This is the beginning of a series on the Lord's Prayer)

No comments:

Post a Comment