Our Father in heaven, Matthew 6: 5-15, Luke 11:2-4

Sunday was Father’s Day! As we celebrate and affirm the positives of fatherhood, there is need to also acknowledge that for various reasons this is not a day of joy and celebration for some people – for instance, there are some individuals who due to circumstances beyond their control, became fatherless at an early age. There are others left abandoned, broken, and wounded by their fathers, parents or the adults responsible for taking care of them. Yet, for the majority this day would be celebrated. On a lighter note, Mark Twain had this to say about his father: When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in 7 years. I wonder what lasting impression you have of your father?

Whether we feel able to celebrate our earthly fathers, or not, we are all invited to celebrate God as the archetype of true fatherhood, and indeed of true parenthood. This is why Jesus taught his disciples to pray saying: ‘Our Father’ – He did so at a time when addressing God as father went against the established system of belief in a holy and transcendent God, who is far removed from humans. By calling God, Father, Jesus was breaking down barriers, thereby introducing his disciples to a bold and confident approach that celebrates God’s welcoming and unconditional love.

As his followers, Jesus is also encouraging us to see God as the true Father, inviting us to share in his own communion and intimacy with God. Jesus is saying to us that we are not alone, we have the same Father, and we belong to the same family. As parent, God provides for our physical, material, emotional and spiritual needs. He saves us from ourselves and from the things that would harm us. He also does not give up on us, his children, but cares enough to not let go even when we fail him – He forgives us when we go astray and embraces us when we return. So even as we yearn for His kingdom to come in all its fullness, we can trust him, and appreciate his unfailing love for us. Our Father in heaven, always wants the best for us!

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my (our) Father,

there is no shadow of turning with Thee;

Thou changest not, Thy compassions they fail not,

as Thou hast been Thou for ever wilt be. (T.O. Chisholm, 1866-1960)    

Stay safe and blessing

Irene John