"Our Father" was Jesus' most commonly used picture of God and His people. After all, God created the family in the beginning; idea was relationships: God with mankind, people with each other in families. Even when Eve, and with her, Adam, made a bad choice in advisers, they still remained partners in life--not perfect, but capable of raising families and nations. Last week, Dr Dumas talked about the strength in Eve and her children; she got hit with one of the most terrible things that a mother can face: the death of son by murder, and the knowledge that the murderer was another of her sons. She lost both of them at once. But we are not told that she gave up--she had another son, Seth, who became the one that fathered the world of people. The Bible is unusual in ancient literature in its stories of women: very few ancient documents mention more than a very few women. There are there something like 400 women included in Scripture, and they are described as real people; we know people like this; more often than not, they are strong, capable women.
We find later in the prophets God described as loving his people the way the ideal husband loves a wife, even when she has been unfaithful. She has a very important place in history; her children create history, for better or for worse. Women stand together to face whatever is necessary. We also heard the story of how women saved the Israelites’ children in Egypt when the Pharoah wanted them dead. The midwives refused to destroy the infants, and Jochebed and Miriam were determined to save the life of baby Moses. Their co-conspirator here was also a woman--the daughter of Pharoah, whose heart reached out to this baby. We could tell many stories of women who trusted God and took care of their families and God's people.
Jesus brought this to another level. He was the Son of God, but also the child of a woman. Scripture often talks about God the Father, and how He cares for His children: us! Even in the context of human sin, Jesus weeps over Jerusalem, who he describes as murdering the prophets and stoning those who were sent. "How often have I yearned to gather your children, as a mother bird gathers her young under her wings, but you refused me." (Matthew 23:37-38)
As God's children, we are called to call upon His strength, and to take care of each other. We live in a society where both men and women reject so much of what God has created us to be. John, in I John 3, talks about us being God's children, and responsible to love each other as well as God. He goes all the way back to the beginning of mankind, where Cain killed his brother because of the evil in his heart. He wraps it up with this: "His commandment is this: we are to believe in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ, and we are to love one another as He commanded us. Those who keep His commandments remain in Him, and He in them. And this is how we know that He remains in us: from the Spirit that He gave us." (I John 3:23-24)