I know there are some who cringe in fear when the name “Father” is uttered.
I know there are fathers who are absent in their children’s lives
and others whose children wish they were absent.
I know “father” is a gender specific term that sometimes makes “mothers” feel slighted.
But, Jesus called God “Abba” (Father) and
that makes our calling God “Father” theologically correct.
That being said, we enter the realm of prayer as Jesus taught us addressing God as “Our Father”
and receive a compound blessing by uttering those two words.
There is an immediate reminder to us that God’s love for us is a father’s love . . .
like that of one who conceived us, brought us into the world,
nurtured and sheltered and shielded us from birth through growth,
taught us to walk and picked us up when we stumbled,
helped us put thoughts into words, led us into making wise choices,
brought us to maturity and sensibility and sensitivity.
Those activities of the Father (like those of all good fathers)
gives us a sense of trust and confidence as we approach the One
whose love will never let us go.
The second reminder of that intimate address is that none of us is an only child.
“Our Father” lets us in on the fact that there are a lot of us who are the apples of God’s eye.
We can look together at one whose love is big enough for us all . . . not just “me.”
We can embrace one another and together thank “our Father”
that there is room in the Father’s house for all of us,
that there is room in the Father’s heart for all of us,
that there is room in the Father’s lap for all of us.
In the day to day relationships we experience in life,
there is always the temptation to be jealous of those around us,
the temptation to fear those around us,
the temptation to compete and strive to beat those around us,
the temptation to exclude those around us,
fearing that if “they” receive too much (or even a bit) of the Father’s love,
then we will be left out.
But, when Our Father is the Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer of the Universe,
then no one is left out.
Thanks be to God that we can all claim likeness to the Father in whose image we were made,
and recognize a bit of the “spittin’ image” (Spirit and Image) of the Father
in each other’s faces and behaviors and lives.
Thanks be to God that the love we receive from Our Father
is more than enough for us to share with our sisters and brothers of that same Father.
Thanks be to God for the room the Father creates for us to celebrate our life
as God’s beloved children in God’s beloved world.