Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Jesus taught us to call the Almighty Creator of the universe, "Father" (Reflections on the Lord's Prayer, Luke 11:1-4)

It is one of the greatest mysteries of our faith as Christians that Jesus taught us to call God, our “Father”. It is also what makes Christianity unique among all religions of the world, past and present. No other religion brings people into this most intimate relationship with God.

The religions of Jesus’ time regarded God as so distant and remote, so powerful and almighty that for men and women to regard him in such an intimate and close way was regarded as blasphemy. In fact it was Jesus’ calling God his “Father” that got him into serious trouble with the Jews in the first place.

Even today, no other religion on this earth teaches men and women to regard the almighty Creator of the universe in such close and intimate way. Jews never gave up their belief in God’s distance from us. Islam finds our belief in God as our Father to be odd. Hinduism does not believe in a single all-powerful and personal God. Buddhism doesn’t even believe that God is a person at all. A non-Christian once commented that to call God “Father” is like an ant calling a man his “dad”, utterly impossible, totally ridiculous, completely odd and baffling.

But that’s what Jesus taught: the eternal God is “our Father”. Certainly, there are many paths to God; and our church teaches us to show respect and reverence for other faiths.

And yet that shouldn’t prevent us from seeing the true uniqueness and greatness of the faith Jesus handed down to us. And that uniqueness we see in the prayer he teaches us today. The almighty, all-powerful, all-knowing, everlasting and eternal Creator of all things, is our “Father”: yours and mine, and we are his children.

It’s a truly awesome thought, as it boggles the mind. But the more you think about it, the greater it makes you feel.

"The Kingdom of Heaven is a condition of the heart." (Friedrich Nietzsche)