the Father

One time when I was in junior high, I was having a hard time praying. Not because there was anything particularly wrong. Just because I couldn’t get started. I couldn’t talk.

One night, as I laid in bed, I thought, “Okay. It’s cliche, but just say the Lord’s prayer. And think about it.”

So I started. “Our Father…” And I started thinking about my dad.

You need to understand that my dad wasn’t perfect. He would tell you that. But he loved us. And he tried. And as little as the income was, there was a house. And as much as he traveled, he came home. And as much as he didn’t know how to sit still (except when snoring during an after-supper nap) and wasn’t sure what to do with an introvert/reader/scholar son, he did the best he could. And he made sure that I knew that he was proud of me.

That jump-started my conversation with God that night. If my dad, being human, cares like he does, how much more my heavenly father. Which sounds, of course, a lot like Jesus, talking to the crowd on the mountain:

If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

It’s a hard thing for our culture, with stories of abusive, abandoning biological fathers,  to say in creed “I believe in God the Father.” But I’m suggesting that this identity is a True metaphor. God isn’t limited to masculinity. Reading through images of God’s care reveals characteristics we associate with each and both genders. But the compelling thing for me is that the first modifier is one that makes God personal, that establishes a potential parental relationship.

I wrote about the emotion of this image when talking about the Lord’s Prayer: Our Father in heaven.

And I’ll be gathering all the posts on the creed at