Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name.

Matthew 6: 9

 

Everyone has a father. Some are extraordinary, others have been inconsistent, there are the ones who just are, and sadly, for many, their fathers have been absent or it would have been better if they were. God knows all of this, and He is aware of the fact that the images hat people attach to the idea of father are wildly variable. Yet, God made each of us with a need and a desire for relationship with a father. When it is missing there is a hole in our hearts and in our souls that seems to seek after its own repair and resolution. We fill in the missing places that even the most perfect of human fathers leave with drives, actions, strivings, and ambitions. Many of them are valuable and healthy, but that is not always true, either.

 

In these few opening words to a prayer, Jesus is framing an attitude toward God that is born out of the way that God sees and values each of us. God’s engagement with people is such that He views each of us as His own child, as the product of His creative touch. We are delightful to His eye and each person is blessed with our own singular expression of the divine image in flesh and blood form. This is how God, the Father, sees us despite the disasters of our lives, the messes that we create, and the chaos that we perpetrate upon this earth. The Lord’s heart sings with a love song for us that is the heavenly lullaby of a father who seeks to be close to and to travel life with His child.

 

Yet, God is holy. He is separate from all of this world’s destruction and loss, and that name, Father, carries with it that holiness. Therefore, there would seem to be a disconnect between God’s desire to be an intimately involved father to us and His separation from our sinfulness. To that end, God does not demand that we become perfect in order for us to ascend to His holy presence. Rather, the Father gave us the gift of Jesus and the presence of His Spirit with us in this world and within us in this life so that He could come to the place where we are, and, through the efforts of Christ alone, we are elevated out of our existence as orphans in this world and into the loving care of our true and perfect Father.

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